Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Nature’

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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!

VISIT US ON-LINE:   HM YOU-TUBE…….HM FACEBOOK……HM WEB SITE……HM FLICKR

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The Simple Things

September 10, 2013

I have been reading the postings of a Nature friend, Kim Clair Smith, who writes a Blog called, NATURE IS MY THERAPY. She has been talking about the simple things in Nature. Those things that in many cases, just pass us by. The Frog in a pond. Parenting birds, taking care of their youngsters. All the things going on around us almost every day, if we only look for them.

With this in mind, I sat in my backyard and observed a very intricate Spiders web in a nearby tree. I examined it in great detail. It was beautiful! The detail and intricacies were wonderful. I kinda became mesmerized by this web, and just sat there for quite some time, just staring at it.

Dew-Covered-Spiderweb

All of a sudden, a small Fly hit the web and became entangled in it. Out of a hidden corner of the web, darted a Spider, at lightening speed. It grabbed the Fly, wrapped it up and quickly carried it off into his hidden corner of the web.

The whole thing took only about 2 minutes, but it was amazing. Then it all returned to what it was, once again. A beautiful web perched in a tree, just waiting. Just sitting there in all it’s detail and beauty.

I realized that most of the many Nature experiences I have witnessed in my life, have been simple ones. Yes, I have stood on the edge of Canyons, rafted whitewater and Hiked thousands of miles over the years. But the most wonderful and beautiful experiences have been those which have been the simplest of Mother Natures gifts. It has been the patience and time taken to wait, just watch and listen, and then be rewarded with something wonderful. To be a part of what takes place behind our backs, most of the time.

Take the time to see, watch and listen outdoors. It can be in your own backyard. It is just a matter of taking that time and having the patience to observe and wait.

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So Who gets the Baton?

May 6, 2013

I was talking with a lifetime Role Model of mine. Yes……even at my age, I have Role Models. We all need to be checking our own actions up against something or someone. We need those “Touchstones” to know if we are heading down the correct Trail, and not the bad Pathway.

This Role Model Individual of mine happens to be a longtime Scout Master. I actually have a couple of Role models that are Scout Masters. I do not think it is a coincidence either. Our conversation was about who do we pass the Nature Baton off too. We are both getting up there in age and those thoughts become more prevalent as you see time running out, little by little.

FireStarterBoth of us have spent the last 20 years or so doing as much Outdoor Volunteer work as we could possibly handle and still remain responsible adults and family members. Dave through Scouting and myself through Hiking Michigan have sponsored and organized literally countless Events and Outdoor activities for all ages. Many focused on educated or giving children an outdoor experience. Yet both of us felt like there was no Baton being passed along.

Yes…….we have both put together some very Fun and educational Events for the Kids. Dave much more then me through Scouting. We both have seen up to 100 children attend a specific Outdoor activity or Event and everyone enjoyed the experience. But what we were talking about to one another had nothing to do with just having Fun. That is not what success was being judged by here.

If you through enough money at something, or even work hard enough to sponsor or organize an Outdoor Event, it is not that hard to get 100 kids to show up with parents and/or family members. But in the big picture that really doesn’t mean a real lot. We are talking lifetimes here. The next Generation. Not just a Fun afternoon.

We are not nurturing new Leaders. We are not giving these children an outdoor experience influential enough to turn their lives into something different or special by dedicating THEIR lives to THEIR generation and it’s understanding of the Natural world and it’s importance to us and the entire world.

Troop-139_Scouts-8647-copyIt starts with Mom & Dad. They have the greatest influence on the children. Mine taught me the greatest respect for the Natural world. Enough that it has stuck with me until this very day. But besides the parents it then takes dedicated individuals, usually Volunteers, because this kind of caring and nurturing does not pay alot of money if anything at all. In fact……these days, the money part mostly contaminates the experiences for the children. They do not learn much when the leader or Instructor is trying to just further their career, advance their Non Profit group or make more money for their own business. The children can learn those things at school or out in the business world.

The Natural world links us all through our hearts and spirits, and not our egos. Children see this very quickly. They know when the adult, Leader or Instructor is there for the money, Career or alternative motive, and not for the true love of the Natural world or the want to show THEM the beauties and wonders that make up EVERYTHING on our planet.

As Dave and I talked about all of this further, we wondered if all of these outside and bad examples where not already poorly influencing the children. How many times can you try and fool the Kids before they just give up on it ever being real, or the truth. They will not say anything to you about it directly, but the determinations from the examples they have been shown, have already been made by them inside. Now the battle starts back at convincing them that Nature is important. That it is not just a way to make yourself popular or make a big career for yourself as they have been shown up to this point in time.

It gets pretty hard to move forward starting so far back. BUT…….it can be done. IT IS being done. Both Dave and myself have seen it, still see it and know that it is still possible under all the past bad Pathways, Electronic sideshows, and poor leaders that have been danced in front of these kids.

KidsBirds copyMaybe rather then saying we have had a big successful outdoor Children’s Event, when 100 kids show up. We should rather feel more successful when we have the same amount of time and energy spent on 6 children for the afternoon or weekend. All that time to answer every one of their questions. Show them everything they wanted to see. Let THEM hand feed the Birds……Let THEM turn over that rock, see what they find and examine what is there with them for how ever long they want to spend there.

It seems that with 100 children attending an Outdoor Event an no one to pass the Baton too, and 6 children attending an Outdoor Experience and just maybe every single one of them being influenced in such a positive way that they too will influence others their own age with the same excitement as they have felt from their experience, is something we then can consider passing the Baton too. Better yet……they take the Baton from us on their own.

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Nature Running Behind

April 23, 2013

I have been comparing some notes and dates from the last few years and noticed we are quite a few weeks behind in many things happening. Although alot of the Birds are Migrating, there are still many behind schedule.

TrilliumThis time last year and the year before we where doing a Spring Wild Flower Hike out at Bald Mountain Recreation area. One of the better places to experience early Wild Flowers. That would be in the South Unit, just north of Greenshield road, outside the main Park/Beach area. We are still about two weeks away from all the early Spring Flowers to be blooming everywhere. Especially Trilliums. I have seen a few Trout Lillies, Blood Root and Spring Beauties, but nothing like what should be taking place compared with previous seasons and dates.

The first and second weeks in May where tremendous Morel hunting times the last two years.HugeMorelPatchStonyCr In fact…..I joined in on a Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club Morel Hike the second week in May and Hit the jackpot out at Stony Creek Metro Park. I would have to Kill you if I told you where we hunted. 🙂 But we where already past many of the early Spring Flower Blooms, the Grass was solid green EVERYWHERE, and all the trees where either budded or had young leaves growing.

There is much we are far behind on through out the entire state. heck…..in the middle of the lower peninsula there is still extensive snow on the ground and it snowed just a few days ago on April 19th. I worry about things like this. Nature has timetables that need to be kept for things to happen properly. Certain insects need to hatch at a particular time of year to feed the new hatchlings of Birds and young Frogs WaterSkimmerand Turtles. Not having warm enough weather to produce these insects in the great quantities needed to feed all these different species can be Catastrophic to all of them. And this is just one small example of how Natures Timetables are so very important.

It is not just if these things take place in the outdoors, but WHEN they take place in Nature. Unless things start to change drastically, and soon, I fear we will be having a very strange and unpredictable Summer in Michigan, with many repercussions from just simple things not taking place at the right Times. This still remains to be seen, but it is not looking good right now.

NLMoths-Thistle

Yes….Nature is resilient and makes adjustments for these kinds of Timing slips and changes.But when they start to happen annually, and at different times each year, it just plain throughs off EVERYTHING. We need about two straight weeks of over 60 degree daytime temperatures, and 40 degree nighttime Temps. to Kick-start it all moving again. And we need that NOW. Right NOW. Lets all hope Mother Nature gets the things and Timing back in sync once again and the balance returns to the many diverse ecosystems that make up our Beautiful state of Michigan.

It is time for all life to be awakening and in coexistence with one another for it to all be happening correctly. We need these Natural timetables, and we need them to happening on a pretty regular basis each year at around the same times.

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Michigan…..Born & Raised

November 21, 2012

Recently, while posting on Facebook for Hiking Michigan, one of my friends there (Bryan) changed his profile picture to this logo below. For some reason it has been in my head ever since. I even stole the picture (with Bryan’s permission) and modified it by adding our state insignia and colorizing it. I even went as far as to enlarge it, Print it and throw it into an old frame I had laying around, and hung it in my office.

I was born and raised in Michigan and will die here in my home state some day. But I guess I did not realize how very proud I am to live here in Michigan. YA……we have our problems like any other state. Economy not doing so well, our own DNR trying to turn our Natural Resources into amusement Parks and forgetting about just what this state is known for. I will continue on that subject in another Posting.

When I was growing up we where known as the “Water, Winter Wonderland”. That is what was on our license plates. And it was how we where seen in the rest of America. A place where the natural beauty and the endless waterways and lakes, where like no other place in the Union. This is still so…..although it all needs some great tender loving care to get it back to a healthy natural environment.

But even still……after traveling much of the USA, I do not know of another place like Michigan. You can be down in the Southeastern or Southwestern areas of the state and have the immense Industrial complexes, renowned Universities and some of the largest communities in America. Then…..with a couple to a few to 12 hours of driving, one can experience almost anything in the natural world you desire. From rolling forests and meadows, countless fishing and canoeable rivers. Diverse ecosystems that overwhelm even the most experienced of Naturalists. Lakes upon lakes, interconnected with streams of spring water.

I know of no other place like it. You can find examples of these things in other states. But they are ALL here in just Michigan alone. Most people have to plan a trip to see and experience a certain type of environment. And that is usually it. Here in our beautiful Michigan, you never have to leave the state. Just drive to a different area of the state and you have something special and unique. Dunes, fresh water Islands, more waterfalls then you can count, and endless wildlife and Natural Resources that very few other states possess.

I was Born and Raised in Michigan, and I will never live any other place. It is all right here. Just hold up your hand and point to where you want to be. 🙂

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A Smell Memory

January 31, 2012

Have you ever got a whiff of a particular smell, and you where suddenly flooded with all types of memories of an experience or place you had been? Smell can be one of the biggest memory triggers in the brain.

This past weekend I had a conversation with a very experienced outdoors women who was telling me a story of how she creates “Smell Memories” with her grand-kids. She will take them on an outing, and then at a certain moment, gather them together and ask them to concentrate on what they smell. It can be anything. And each child seems to get a different focus on what it is they are smelling. Not always the same smells for each child. Later……she talks with the children about their experiences together and what they had smelled.

I realized as she was telling me this wonderful story, just how important smell was to me. Especially in my outdoor experiences. I thought about how I would see a sunset or tree-line and it would remind me of a place I had been. But when it came to a smell memory, my mind was flooded with all types of memories of something I had done or a place I had been. The memory was so much stronger.

Taste works very much the same way. Although it is harder to taste everything around you. 🙂 I thought about that one too, and figured that was why I put so many things into my mouth while out on the trail. Not recommended behaviour.

So remember this the next time you are watching that sunset, or coming over that bluff to a spectacular Pine forest on the horizon. Stop for a moment, get that picture in your head, and them connect it to what it is you smell at that specific moment. Then log it with your other “Smell Memories”.

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