Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Hiking Trails’


The Best of the NEW YEARS

December 27, 2013

HMFACTSAs Hiking Michigan enters it’s 16th year in existence, I would like to Thank the now, over 7,200 members that make up the largest Hiking Organization in the state of Michigan. Not only is this Group the largest, but in my opinion, It is one of the nicest, friendliest and excepting Outdoor groups in the state. It takes ALL of you members to have produced this wonder place for everyone to come and be excepted and enjoy Nature together.

I would also like to personally Thank everyone who have been so patient, kind and reassuring towards all the delays in Hike schedules this past year. My health recovery has been very slow, and I have received some of the most beautiful emails and letters from you HM members.

We will definitely be back on track come this Spring of 2014, with regular Hikes and Outdoor activities. Your support and loyalty to, YOUR Group has made us even stronger, and shows just why Hiking Michigan has survived and prospered for going on 16 years now.

HMchristmasI would like to wish all of you the best of the Holidays and hopefully the very best upcoming NEW YEARS!!!!!  We will be sneaking in some random Campfires and maybe a Snowman build over the Winter months, before we get back solid with a regular Hiking schedule come Springtime.

Again……..Thank You all so very much for your personal support and kindness/understanding on all the schedule delays and the support for my personal healing. It has meant alot to me. But it shows why we have made 16 years and why YOU are all the best Trail partners anyone could ask for!

Michigan-Night-LightsOne side note here………I personally belong to many Outdoor Groups. There are also some great ones out there. But there is just something about the HM members that make you guys stick out from the rest. Your acceptance of everyone that joins in on a Hike. Your friendliness and sharing of Trail supplies and Outdoor knowledge. This has made it  easy for anyone to just stop in here, not know anyone else, and join in on the fun of exploring Nature and all the beauty our state of Michigan has to offer. No one can make any of you do those things. You all just have done it anyways. THANKS!



New Michigan RAPTORS ID sheets

August 4, 2013

BirdSilloettesMost of the time, when we spot a Raptor in Michigan, it ends up being a silhouette of the bird flying overhead or soaring. Sometimes we get lucky and get a close enough view of the bird, to observe colors and distinct markings. So we put together an updated silhouette ID sheet for Michigan Raptors.

It is a great way to start to become familiar with what Raptors are in the area, allowing us to get closer and actually see the details of these magnificent birds. Michigan has seen an big increase in Raptors these last few years. At Stony Creek Metro Park HIKING Trails, there was an Eagles nest and a Osprey nest withing a 1/2 mile of one another.

Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as any bird that kills its prey with its talons. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh. In most cases, the females are considerably larger than the males. The term “raptor” is derived from the Latin word “rapere” (meaning to seize or take by force) and may refer informally to all birds of prey, or specifically to the diurnal group.

The diurnal birds of prey are formally classified into five families:

  • Accipitridae: hawks, eagles, buzzards, harriers, kites and Old World vultures
  • Pandionidae: the Osprey (sometimes classified as subfamily Pandioninae of the previous family)
  • Sagittariidae: the Secretary Bird
  • Falconidae: falcons and caracaras
  • Cathartidae: New world vultures including condors.

The nocturnal birds of prey – the owls – are classified separately as members of two extant families of the order Strigiformes:

  • Strigidae: (typical owls)
  • Tytonidae: (barn and bay owls).

Types of Birds of Prey

* Eagles tend to be large birds with long, broad wings and massive feet. Booted eagles have legs and feet feathered to the toes and build very large stick nests.
* Ospreys, a single species found worldwide that specializes in catching fish, and builds large stick nests.
* Kites have long wings and relatively weak legs. They spend much of their time soaring. They will take live vertebrate prey but mostly feed on insects or even carrion.
* The true Hawks are medium-sized birds of prey that usually belong to the genus Accipiter (see below). They are mainly woodland birds that hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. They usually have long tails for tight steering.
* Buzzards are medium-large raptors with robust bodies and broad wings, or, alternatively, any bird of the genus Buteo (also commonly known as “hawks” in North America).
* Harriers are large, slender hawk-like birds with long tails and long thin legs. Most use a combination of keen eyesight and hearing to hunt small vertebrates, gliding on their long broad wings and circling low over grasslands and marshes.
* Vultures are carrion-eating raptors of two distinct biological families, each occurring in only the Eastern Hemisphere (Accipitridae) or the Western (Cathartidae). Members of both groups have heads either partly or fully devoid of feathers.
* Falcons are small to medium-size birds of prey with long pointed wings. Unlike most other raptors, they belong to the Falconidae, rather than the Accipitridae. Many are particularly swift flyers. Instead of building their own nests, falcons appropriate old nests of other birds, but sometimes they lay their eggs on cliff ledges or in tree hollows. Caracaras are a distinct subgroup of the Falconidae unique to the New World, and most common in the Neotropics – their broad wings, naked faces and appetites of a generalist suggest some level of convergence with either the Buteos or the vulturine birds, or both.
* Owls are variable-sized, typically night-specialized hunting birds. They fly with extremely little audible turbulence due to special feather structure and have particularly acute hearing.

Download our recently updated Michigan Raptors silhouette sheets here:




Things You MUST BE PREPARED For on the Trails

May 30, 2013

Everyone has their own personal punch list when heading outdoors. Some like a small Pack to carry all the “Stuff” they may need. Others prefer just the bare essentials. But there are a few things that EVERYONE Must address and understand to have a safe and enjoyable time outdoors on the Trails.

INSECT REPELLENTS: This is a MUST item. No matter how you do it, you have to address the problems with SKEETERS, TICKS and at times, Biting Flies. The old school method is a Repellent with over 70% DEET. Actually illegal in the USA until about 15 years or so ago, this level of DEET will surely keep both SKEETERS & TICKS away. It may also melt anything plastic or rubber you have on you as well. NO LIE.

A combination of a 30% DEET Repellent, just for some of your exposed skin and then a heavy treated clothing, with “Permethin”. This is a much less toxic way to deal with SKEETERS and TICKS. Permethrin is a synthetic form of a natural insecticide found in some flowers. It was developed to be put onto our clothing as the delivery system. And it does work!

Those Biting Flies are a category all their own. Most Repellents say they keep them at bay, but I have not found this to be true. In real Biting Fly country, the only real protection is physical netting. Some people will argue this point with me, but this is my personal opinion and experience with them nasty Biting Flies.

SUN SCREEN: Not really a concern years ago, we have learned that to much Sun is deadly. Again, there are varying opinions on what level of Sun screen is effective and what is overkill. I always purchase the highest Block number I can find. An 85, or a 110. Why play around here. Get as much Sun blocking as possible. It is better then the possible results from not getting enough Block. There very minimum should be at least a number 22 UV Block. Download our REPELLENTS & SUNSCREEN SHEET here.

DIRECTIONS: The regular Hiker should be carrying a Whistle/Compass/Light combo. It is a nice compact way to have these three essential items with you and at the ready.A good method for confirming your directions and cross-referencing North, South, East & West, is the old Stick and Shadow set up. Nothing to carry with you. During a short rest stop, you put aShadowSticks stick in the ground and a second stick or stone at the end of where the shadow falls from that first stick. You wait 15 minutes or so, and put another marker where the end of the sticks shadow is at this point. Lay a second stick across the two Marker points and that becomes your East/West line. Download our ORIENTEERING SHEETS for a more detailed explanation of this method. It works flawlessly, and is very useful at verifying even a Compass reading.

TIME: One of the most often forgotten item while heading out onto the Trails is something for telling time. Many of us like to judge that for ourselves. If you do not wish to carry a watch of some sort, there are some ways to estimate the time, and even better ways to tell almostSuntime-Dial exactly how much time before the Sun will set. This is probably your most important time understanding. When to set up your Camp or head back to the Parking lot, and how much time you have before you loose all sun-light. The SAR BARS Method is a very accurate way to tell the amount of time before the Sun will set.



OneFingerSunAs the Sun sets closer to the horizon, and a full hand will not fit between the sun and the earth horizon, then you can start using just single fingers, as 15 minute increments. You will be surprised at how accurate this system of hands and fingers really is for telling you how much time you have before the sun sets. The time before the sun sets and you are left out on the Trails in the dark, is one of the more important bits of knowledge to have while out on the Trails.

So……there are many different critter comforts we all prefer to take with us while roaming the Trails or Parks. But these things listed here, are the items you just simply cannot forget to bring along with you. Applying Insect Repellent at the Parking lot/Trail-head is good……BUT, you must bring more Repellent along with You. The same goes for Sunscreen, Water, Whistle, Compass, and a small flash-light (halogen). Having a Garbage bag or two, folded up small, and jammed into a pocket or Camera case, are also indispensable. Those Bags have many uses out on the Trails. Quick Rain coat. Shelter starter or even a Trash collector.

Select all the extra things you wish to bring out onto the Trails with you. But do not forget the items listed here. these are not optional things. These are NECESSITIES!


Trail Lessons Re-Learned

May 29, 2013

Over the Memorial weekend, we organized a small group of Hikers and did a special place that does not get much maintenance. The Trails were overgrown, and in many places, non-existent. At one point during the Hike, were the group of 10 of us were actually Bushwhacking and taking pictures, three of us wandered a bit away from the main group.

We decided to circle back to where we left the group and connect back up. I lingered for a moment to take some further pictures and then discovered I was alone with no Trails. I attempted to continue to circle and follow what I thought was the route the other 3 Hikers had taken to reconnect to the main group.

After about 15 minutes, I stopped again and realized I could not hear or see either group. I started to use my Boy Scout whistle. It is a frequency that cuts through almost everything, to carry for over a mile. Normally. But with the very thick foliage everywhere, it apparently was not getting through to anyone. I yelled a few times in-between my whistle blows in every direction. No response.

So I headed back to where the smaller group had originally broken away from the main group. I found the spot and no one was there. I continued to blow my whistle and yell in every direction. I listened……Nothing.

So now, it had been over 45 minutes since I last heard or seen anyone from the group. I made my way back to what was our original Trail into the area. It was only kinda like at Trail. Still very overgrown. As I walked back down this Trail to our starting point, I would blow my whistle and listen constantly. Still nothing in response. At the car, I re-hydrated, took a short rest and listened carefully back into the confined area we where Hiking in. Not a human sound to be heard.

I headed back down the original trail and was going to cover the exact route we had taken earlier in the day. About 1/2 mile down the trail, I run into the entire rest of the group. About 2 minutes before we re-connected, I could hear them yelling. I whistles back. When we met a couple of minutes later, No one in the group had heard my whistle, just minutes before up the trail. Apparently the deep/heavy foliage was trapping the sound and it was not traveling very far.

We stopped there on the trail and compared notes. The group had been doing similar things that I was doing. Blowing whistles and yelling in every direction. I did not hear them and they never heard my calls as well. So what are some of the lessons here?

1. Even though this was a special hiking group, made up of all experienced Trails individuals, “I” should have never left the main group, being the leader of this Hike. NEVER. That is what started the entire situation. Just a bit of lax behaviour that got way out of control.

2. The main group should never have split up again, even after it had lost the leader. For a short time there was the danger of having a second person or persons, also disconnected from the main group.

3. Although this was a very experienced group of Hikers, and everyone eventually figured out just where they were, and the problem of being Lost was not an issue. The bigger problem of not finding one of the Hikers, and having that lone hiker hurt himself while being alone, could have turned this small problem into a nightmare. Injured and alone, “I” could have laid in the thick foliage, off of any main trail, for over a day or so to be eventually found by a search party. And that is what it would have taken to find me, if injured in this thick/dense area.

***It gets very easy for even the most experienced of Hikers, to forget the basic Rules of Group hiking. ALWAYS Stay together. Even with one member lost, the group needs to remain together rather then multiple their problems by splitting up. ALWAYS make arrangements for a meeting place out on the Trails or especially while Bushwhacking in dense Forest terrain. ALWAYS carry a whistle. If the group all had their own whistles, the odds of the lost member hearing one of the calls increases greatly. ALWAYS carry a Compass.

Just like the importance of carrying extra Water on a Hike, just for occasions like this one. Or that stash of additional Insect Repellent.(the area was so thick with foliage that the SKEETERS where, at times, in swarming mode. This can be very distracting) Some additional things MUST be added to your regular Hiking gear and routine, when you will be Bushwhacking. Thick forest foliage, intense Insect behaviour, and the ease at which the entire Group can get turned around, increases tremendously in a Bushwhacking scenario.

Never figure that you know so much about the outdoors that there is no need for discussions with the rest of your Group. Emergencies happen. And when they do, those advanced discussions can be the saving Grace. You NEVER know to much and you NEVER can remember it all.


INWOOD Hiking Trails/Stony Creek

May 20, 2013

For over 20 years, the land north of Inwood road and Stony Creek Nature Area was an active Gravel Pit. The land was leased to the Gravel company by the Metro Parks. When the lease was up, about 10 years ago, the Metro Parks took possession once again.


They put alot of time and money into clearing out what the Gravel pitters had left behind. Concrete piles, scrap metals, 55 gallon drums and all types of heavy debris. After years of cleaning up the mess that was left there, Stony Creek Metro Park developed a HIKING Trails area, with ponds and marked trails totaling miles. They did a great job of cleaning out the area. Then it was Mother Natures turn. As the area kinda sat there for the last 5 years or so, Mom got busy with reclaiming her world.

MamaEagleNow, one can Hike the Trails there and see Eagles nests, Osprey nest, Owls nests, Swans, Sandhill Cranes and Massasagua rattle snakes. Yes……the area has many of them. But being cautious, it can be a very unique experience to see a Massasagua snake in the wild. Or how about a pair of nesting Eagles. Relax on one of the resting benches along the Trail and observe the Eagles feeding their youngster. Or check out the Osprey nest. This Osprey was one of the youngsters released many years ago from the Osprey Program at Stony Creek, with the help of many dedicated Volunteers.

Look closely as you travel the Trails and spot one of the many Owls nests. Or again…..observeBestOsprey closely as you travel the area and you may spot one of the Kits from the local Fox den in the Park. There is much to see and experience in this secluded area of the Park.

Some precautions should be taken for being aware of the Massasagua snakes, and wearing some DEET repellent for SKEETER and TICK protection. But those are things we all should be doing no matter what Trails in any Park we maybe Hiking these days.

You can easily spend most of the day Hiking the Trails there and never crossing a road or maybe even not seeing another person. It is very easy, as you get deeper into the Hiking area, to get some very private Nature experiences.

CraneRunSo get on out to the INWOOD HIKING Trails, north of Inwood road and Stony Creek Nature Study area, and experience and area packed with Birds and wildlife. It is almost hard to believe that this place was a Gravel Pit for so many years, and has been reclaimed by the hard work of the Metro Parks and Mother Nature. ENJOY!!!!!!!!

Please read the article below about the huge increase in TICKS we are experiencing in Southeastern Michigan. With some advanced planning, in most cases you will not have any problems or anything to be concerned about. BE PREPARED! The Boy Scouts motto.


Download a new Map of the INWOOD HIKING TRAILS here.


1st Wild Flower HIKE Reviewed

May 13, 2013

BaldMFlowersNormally we do not schedule Hikes on a Holiday weekend. It conflicts with various family obligations and gatherings, and that is not what we are about here. But……we received so many requests to do a Wild Flower HIKE on Saturday, May 11th, the day before Mothers Day, that we thought it would be OK to do something short and local that maybe even Mom could come and enjoy.

About 18 people showed up for an interesting day in weather and Flowers. So did 6 Doggie friends as well. Now……it is a testament to all you HM members, that after 15 years of exploring Southeastern Michigan, your Group has grown to over 6,000 members, of which some 35-80 of you attend almost every Hike we schedule. Pretty amazing to have 80 people on a Hike. Even having 40 people is pretty overwhelming.

That is why the 18 members and Doggie friends who showed up, made this Hike very similar BaldMountainFlowers1to the way Hikes went, when the Group was young and had around a couple of thousand members. We would get 12-20 Hikers joining in at every Hike.

It is a much different dynamic when there is under 20 Hikers participating. Everyone gets a chance to speak with everyone else at the Hike. There are EXCELLENT conversations on many outdoor subjects, especially IDing the different Flowers, Plants and creatures we come across on the Trails. Now this also takes place on every Hike. BUT…..the difference is that all 18 Hikers would do a communal discussion on a discovered Flower. Some had ID sheets, others had ID Books and others just carried their knowledge and experience. Whatever was the input, almost everyone had input, which made each Flower stop along the Trails and extremely learned one.

No Flower or plant was left un-IDed before the end of the Hike. Flower ID discussions also turned into other outdoor conversations connecting the various Flowers, Plants and experiences together. EVERYONE’s experiences. Because the Group was small enough, Everyone got a chance to express their opinions, comments and experiences, while they had the attention of the rest of the 18 people hiking with them.

The pack of Doggie friends were very interesting factor at the Hike too. They all got along admirably, and you could see the enjoyment and even smiles on their faces through out the Hike. 🙂

The Hike quickly became a Hike of old friends. I do not believe anyone did not feel this same way. You can feel the vibe in the Group when this happens in this manner. I believe that everyone feels its too. Even the 5 additional people who arrived a bit late for the Hike, yet alone on the Trails, tracked the Group down. CONGRATS on both the abilities to find us and the determination to keep looking until you did discover our whereabouts. 🙂 Well Done Explorers!

The HIKE pictures are about 70% from a new member….Majd, and the rest are from Kevin, Jeanine and myself. We will be repeating the Spring Wild Flowers HIKE in the next week or so, for those who missed this last minute scheduled HIKE. It was mainly talked about on Facebook;s HIKING MICHIGAN’s PAGE. BUT…..everyone on the official web site Hiking Groups email list, received an email announcement on the Thursday before the Hike. You cannot always depend on Facebook for our HIKE schedule. YES….we get most of the Hikes posted there. But the guaranteed place to make sure you get a notice of each and every HIKE, and nothing else, is by being an official member and on our emails list.

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It only takes an email to me, Rob Golda, through our web site at:        Just drop us that email, tell us which Hiking Group you wish to join (the S.E.MI. Group, or the Hiking North/Central group) and let us know the county you live in, so we can better schedule Hikes near to the majority of the members. That;s it. YOU will NEVER miss a HIKE Notice, ever again.

Also wanted to let everyone know that we will be starting something new next week. It is our SECRET HIKES PROGRAM. These special scheduled Hikes will be to places not know by anyone, or by very few people. They are special Nature places and environments I have personally kept secret for up to 30 years now. The first 15 people to email in a reservation to these HIKEs announcements, will be invited to join in. 15 people maximum. In some cases that total will drop to 10 people only. To not disturb the local wildlife and environments. We will be visiting and exploring rare environments, Lost Islands, secret paths, Trails and Hiking areas that almost know one really know about. Some very true Explorations.


Guides and ID Sheets

May 2, 2013

Since the weather has finally broken and everything is blooming, Birds singing and critters running around everywhere, it is time to pull out the ID Books and Sheets. Just wanted to remind everyone we have many Free ID sheets right here on the HM Blog, and even more on the website DOWNLOADS PAGE.

In the column to the right, there are Links to the most popular ID sheets that get downloaded here, starting with our Animal Tracks sheets. DOWNLOAD THE ANIMAL TRACKS SHEETS HERE.

StreamsideAnimalTracks ForestAnimalTracks









A popular ID sheet is our Raptors sheet. Since many times the best view of flying Raptors is a silhouettes, the sheets have those silhouettes IDed. Most of the various kinds of Raptors in Southeastern Michigan are listed here. DOWNLOAD THE RAPTORS ID SHEET HERE.


There are also some helpful guides in the downloads list and website page as well. TICKS have become a huge problem in S.E. Michigan the last few years. So we put together an ID sheet that also deals with what to do if you believe you have picked up a Tick. DOWNLOAD THE TICKS GUIDE HERE.

Ticks2 Ticks









Since many of the Spring Flowers are finally sprouting everywhere, and our next Group Hike will be a Wild Flowers Hike, here is our early Spring Flowers ID sheets. We are doing a second version of this ID sheet with Flowers that take hold after those early Spring flowers go away. Many of the early Spring flowers, only bloom for a short period of time before they are replaced by the more permanent, longer lasting Flowers. (whatever that means) 🙂 You can DOWNLOAD THE EARLY SPRING FLOWERS ID SHEETS HERE.

SpringFlowers-1 SpringFlowers-2









The best place to go and see all the various ID sheets and Guides we have to Download is on the web sites DOWNLOADS PAGE. Click the Link to get there. We hope these sheets help you enjoy the Outdoors a little bit more and keeps you all prepared for what you may encounter while exploring Michigan’s Forests and Parks.

If you have any suggestions for us to put together an ID sheet or Guide sheet, please let us know. Being Prepared, the old Boy Scout motto, is always a good thing.


Finally Flowers!

April 24, 2013

Inbetween the 70 degree days and the 35 degree days with light snow flurries, the Spring flowers have finally started to push their way up through the madness. We went for a couple of exploratory Hikes to see just what is starting to happen in our local Parks.

Sprouts are starting almost everywhere. Not in an extreme manner, but still starting non the less. We actually need about a week of temperatures above 50 degrees and it will all just break loose. Until then, it will be a slow process.


A rare RED Trillium. Rare for this far north.

We found certain places that had alot of south facing hillsides to be the most productive right now. The extra warmth there are instigating many different flowers to start their Spring blooming. Even many of the bushes and trees are moving very slowly at budding and blooming. I cannot imagine the strain on many of the returning migrating Birds.

The Blooms and warmer weather that instigates the Spring Flowers, also help to start up the insect populations. These returning Birds need these insects for a food source as they build their nests for this years youngsters. The pressure must be great on many of these other critters as well. All of whom depend upon certain plant life and insects to be coming alive right now to feed their long winter appetites, or in preparations for their new youngsters.

Take a Hike and look closely. You will see that the Flowers are trying, the insects are just starting up and in the right locations the bushes and trees are budding and waking up from winter.

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We found many Trout Lillies leaves, but no blooms yet. The same went for Trilliums and Blood Root. We are right on the edge of it all taking off.




White Trillium



A Star Flower


A Buttercup


Bird Feeding HIKE Reviewed

April 21, 2013

We had a wonderful Hike at Kensington on Saturday, 4/20/13! Most of the Hike we had the sun peaking out, but then for the last short part along the far side of the Lake, the wind made it a bit cold. No real big deal though. There was so much going on and so many Fun Hikers, that it just didn’t matter. 🙂

We fed the birds all the way around the Lake Trail. Couldn’t get the bigger birds to come in though. Lots of Chickadees, Nuthatches and Titmouses. Cardinals and Flickers where waiting in the close distance, but would not come in close enough. Sand Hill Cranes were roaming the forest along the Trails too. The Heron Island was quite busy with activity. We even say an Osprey soaring down to the old Hacking Tower on the Lake.

The Nature Center was just packed with various Groups meetings. The local Astronomers where there. The Park had a Garlic Mustard Pull taking place. Audubon members where doing an Outdoor Photography sessions, not to mention many individuals just there to enjoy the Nature Trails as we were.

If you have not experienced Hand feeding birds while hiking out on the Nature Trails, it is something you should head out to do. A very relaxing and enjoyable time, and something you just do not get the chance to do very often, anywhere.

A big part of our Hike was not just the Bird feeding, but all the great discussions on Nature and the Outdoors. This Hike in particular was exceptional in this way. So many different people with knowledge on so many different areas of Nature. It always makes for an interesting Hike when almost everyone is participating in some way. Just like one big Group of old friends. The best kind of Hike to have. 🙂

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February 18, 2013

To help celebrate Hiking Michigan’s 15th year in existence, we are having a special HIKE. On March 2nd, at Stony Creek Metro Park, where we held our very first HIKE some 15 years ago, we will be Hiking the  same trails we did back in 1998. We had 4 Hikers show up for that very first Hike. Last years 14th Birthday Hike, we had over 70 people show up for the Hike.


Everyone will meet at the Nature Center parking area at 12 noon and we will head out from there. To celebrate this special Birthday HIKE, everyone in attendance will receive a copy of our Mapbook, HIKING SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN. 11 detailed Maps of some of the best hiking parks in S.E. Michigan.

Upon return from our HIKE, we will head over to the Nature Center and roam the great displays and shoot some pictures of the many regular visitors to the Centers Bird Feeders. We just may get a Campfire going behind the Nature Center, with the Parks permission.

EVERYONE is welcome to join us for our Birthday HIKE. Just stop in and join in. That’s all it takes. We hope to see you all there to help celebrate our 15th year of HIKING MICHIGAN!




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