Posts Tagged ‘southeastern Michigan Parks’



October 8, 2013

FallLeavesIt is starting to be that time of year again. When the Trees & Bushes loose their greens and change to a colorful array of reds, yellows, oranges and pinks. There are specific reasons this takes place each year. The weather of course, is the trigger. But the scientific reasons are much deeper then the mear temperature changes at this time of year. Check out our sheet on, “WHY LEAVES CHANGE COLOR”.

What also makes this Info sheet interesting, is that with the knowledge on just why the leaves change, and what Trees & Bushes produce what colors, you can almost select the Fall colors you wish to observe. If you know where there are old Oak trees, you have a good chance of seeing some brilliant red and orange colors in the leaves. Create your own Fall Colors Tour. πŸ™‚


We are very lucky here in Michigan, with some of the very best Fall colors anywhere. A few of my personal favorites in Southeastern Michigan are listed in our Info sheet called……“FALL COLOR TOURS”. The sheet describes some of the best places for Fall Colors in S.E.Michigan.

By understanding some of the reasons why the leaves change color, and what trees produce what specific colors, you can go to places in the area that will please your Fall Colors experience.


For instance……..Highland Recreation area (HAVEN HILL and the NATURAL AREA) have examples of almost every tree that grows in our state. This means you will see almost every Fall color imaginable there. Seven Lakes State Park is another example of a place that has so many different tree species, that you can see almost any co,or you desire there.

In Macomb county, Metro Park, Wolcott Mill, has many old Oak and Maple trees, since the area was settled so long ago. The deep reds and yellows there, are magnificent in these older trees. In the Park and on the old Farm roads that surround the Park, you will enjoy some outstanding colors.

There are of course, many beautiful places through out Michigan to view Fall Colors. Our Info sheet on the “FALL COLORS TOUR”, will help you get started in Southeastern Michigan, with some of the very best.

Here are a few Southeastern Michigan Park Maps to help you roam a bit deeper into the Fall Colors. The maps are free and all are recently GPSed and updated.

HIGHLAND Recreation Area (Haven Hill/Natural Area)

SEVEN Lakes State Park (Near the city of Holly)

WOLCOTT Mill Metro Park & Farm Center (Macomb county)

PONTIAC Lake Recreation Area (off of M59/Highland road, near Highland Rec.)

ORTONVILLE Recreation Area (NE of the city of Ortonville)

If you are looking for more Park maps, stop in at the Hiking Michigan web site, and visit the PARKS MAP Page.



So That’s How it Works

April 21, 2013

GroupTrailI know I have written on this subject before. In fact, many times over the last 15 years we have been Hiking around various Parks in Southeastern Michigan. I kinda believe that we have lasted 15 years because of what I am writing about here. And that is the Camaraderie and openness that HM Hikers have towards one another.

There has always been something special the members here at HM have had for their Group. Everyone takes it upon themselves to interact with everyone that comes out for a Hike. Some Hikers are regulars. They are at almost every Hike. Others come out a few times a year, and still others join in maybe once a year. But it doesn’t seem to matter.

Everyone is greeted and the interacts with one another out on the Trails, by other members in the Group, whether they are regulars or even if the Hikers do not know one another. This acceptance of all people is what ends up making almost every Hike a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon for most of the Hikers.


Sometimes the Hikes are not just about a special Nature place we are visiting, or Birds we are hand feeding. It is just as much about feeling relaxed while strolling the Trails, taking in the Forests or just enjoying the view across the lake. The release from our day to day stresses and schedules have as much to do with getting together as a Hiking Group as the Nature experiences themselves.

No one person can make this happen. Over these 15 years that Hiking Michigan has been aGroupTrailStonyCreek Hiking group, it has been the members that have created this way, and have made these kinds of things happen on a regular basis. Talking with what is in many cases, a complete stranger out on the Trails. Having a friendly and engaging attitude towards all the people you are Hiking with. That takes a Group effort.

I must say……..I have watched this happen for 15 years now. Different people rotating through the Group. Some regulars, others on their own time schedules, and yet it is always the same between the Hikers. Complete acceptance. No Cliches here……..No Elitists strutting their Egos down the Trails. Instead…..plenty of sharing of outdoor knowledge. People talking to one another about as little or as much as they know about Nature.

NLJim&groupPANOI have spent my entire life outdoors. On the Trails, Back Packing, Canoeing, Bushwhacking, you name it, yet……..I learn something new on every Hike. That alone says alot about all you HM Hikers here. We may have the largest Hiking Group in Michigan with our 6,000 members. But it means nothing when compared to just how our Hikes go and how you members treat one another and even the new ones coming in. You obviously set an example that they caring on to the next new Hikers to join us.

This continues to be the best Hiking Group in the state of Michigan. And not because it is the largest, but because it’s members have respect for one another and the Natural world we visit and explore.


First Day of Spring

March 21, 2013

According to the Sun/Moon and planet….it is officially Spring. That is even backed up by the Groundhog and his slightly false prediction this year. πŸ™‚ I was reading a posting from our friend Janet Hug, local Birder and Weather person. She had posted some beautiful photos of shots taken on this very day last year, when the temperature was 80 degrees.

I am sure many of you are saying…..well….where is it? But what happened last year with this to early Springtime temps., was that we had a freeze shortly afterwards that destroyed alot of the fruit crops and many other plants that got fooled into believing it truly was FULL SPRINGTIME.

It gets hard to say things like……it should be 80 degrees yet. We may want it to be 80 degrees, because by this point in the year, most of us have had enough Winter, cold weather, snow and everything else. But we need these seasons for everything to work right. If you through the seasons calendar off even by a little bit, it can have catastrophic results to the environment. We need these transition periods in-between the official seasons to make it all work correctly.

I was just reading a 10 year study about the Migration habits of many different Bird species. The Study claimed that many of the migratory birds have shifted their comings and goings by 2-3 weeks, due to what they believe has been these odd seasonal changes and strange weather conditions. Like 80 degrees on the second week of March in southern Michigan. Not correct temperatures.

So what you say. Well, just like the freeze we got, shortly after the week or so of 80 degree temperatures last year, and then the freeze afterwards, that had very bad consequences not just for the fruit crops, but for many other species. From insects to Trees to many different critters, things are timed to happen at a certain part of each season.

If the insect supply is not where it should be at a particular time, then many young hatchlings, fish and others will fail due to that critical food sources needed right at that time period. I watched as the Great Blue Herons returned to their nesting site at Holland Ponds this year, in the first week of March. The earliest I have seen that happen to date. I have watched as they have stood semi-freezing at the tops of the tallest trees, waiting for mates to arrive. Even surviving this early cold arrival, the Herons producing youngsters right away, may have difficulty in gathering all the food needed for themselves and young hatchlings if the young turtles and fish they feed on, have not yet reproduced themselves due to the cold condition still enveloping S.E.Michigan and the herons extra early return.

The balance in Nature is a very delicate one. A few weeks of climate differences can mean big changes in what will be happening that year. It is a snowball effect as well. One creature fails, and this produces a failure in another area too. Notice the much larger then normal insect populations we had in Michigan last year? Our almost no Winter, warm Spring and hot summer, produced a huge in-balance in the way of things.

So…..the first day of Spring does not mean the temperatures should change from 30 degrees, to 80 degrees overnight. The transitions between seasons are just as important as the seasons themselves. Take it all in. These in-between periods are just as exciting as the main seasons are. In many cases they are rare, short-lived time periods where big things take place. Things that will only take place once that year, and only during those transition periods.

The first Day of Spring only indicates celestial cycles and Earth alignments. The time on either side of these exact season days are the very exciting times during which everything changes in one way or another. And how wonderful is that. πŸ™‚



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 Β 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!






February 9, 2013

Really hard to believe that it will be 15 years of Hiking around Southeastern Michigan with HIKING MICHIGAN, and the now over 6,000 members. That first hike had 4 Hikers taking part in what was a stroll around the Stony Creek Nature Trails. One of those 4 Hikers, many of you may know. Chris Harbowy, who has a membership number of 0001, was one of the very first people to email in, and join the Hiking group. We are so happy that all these years later, Chris is still here and now writes for the NewsLetter and Leads Hikes on occasions.


If you would have asked me those 15 years ago, if Hiking Michigan would be this large, still Hiking and still producing a NewsLetter, Blog, Web site, Facebook pages and You-Tube Videos, I would have laughed at you. πŸ™‚ But here we are with a NewsLetter readership quarterly of just over 20,000. Our Blog gets a consistent 250 HITS each and every day of the week, and our Facebook pages are well over 15,000 weekly views. I am laughing right now. πŸ™‚


I know you longtime members have heard this from me many times before, but… is truly because of YOU, the members, that HIKING MICHIGAN has grown and is now the largest Hiking Organization in Michigan, and the second largest Outdoor Group in Michigan. We are second only to the united groups and memberships that make up MUCC (Michigan United Conservation Clubs)

Numbers are one things, but what has produced these huge numbers and more importantly, what has made every Hike here at HIKING MICHIGAN a unique and special experience in it’s own right, are the people that come out and join in on these hikes. People who love Nature. People who are willing to share their knowledge of the Outdoors with everyone for no other reason then the excitement of telling fellow hikers of their wonderful experiences. For 15 years now…..this has been the case at every hike we have scheduled…..every event we have planned……and every festival and special Program we have sponsored and organized. You HM people truly have shown all of your fellow Michiganders just how special Nature lovers of all sorts can be.

Whether you Hug Trees, Hunt, Love them Birdies, Geocache, Love a good MotherEarthTrail2Campfire, Night Hike, Canoe/Kayak, Snow Shoe, or just enjoy immersing yourself in a unique Michigan habitat like a FEN. You have been welcome here, and you have then welcomed all others who have joined us afterwards. In that, IS our secret here. But that has just continued to be so, year after year without hesitation. That is the even more amazing part.

When HIKING MICHIGAN was doing our very first HIKE some 15 years ago, there where almost no other Outdoor Groups, yet alone specialty Hiking style groups. The Audubon Society did the occasional organized Hike, and the SIERRA club did the occasional Trail run. πŸ™‚ They used to move pretty quick on their JustFireHikes. Now…..15 years later and there are almost 100 different and specialty Hiking, Canoeing, Geocaching Groups and the new “MEET-UPS” through the 8 counties that comprise Southeastern Michigan. Groups everywhere these days.

Ensure-your-organization-has-something-stronger-than-Tootsie-Pop-securityBut who started the Night HIKE? HM did. Who started the HIKE/CAMPFIRE Vittles gathering? HM did. Who started in at least Southeastern Michigan, the Winter Candle Lit Night Trail Hikes? HM did this for a number of local FRIENDS groups. Who cared enough about our local Foot traveled Trails to maintain them when our DNR did not have the money or manpower to do their own jobs? HM did. Who did some of the very first Invasive Species control and removal projects, that actually sparked our own DNR to start an internal STEWARDSHIP Program themselves? HM did that too. Who did specialty HIES, where the hikers learned something specific while FullMoonalso out enjoying the weather and Natural Resources. HM did that. And how started the actual learning Class programs for outdoor activities while out in a Park or the Field? HM did this too. Something REI does a great job with now by teaching the basics in their stores fro FREE and then in many cases, working with local outdoor groups to get the experiences passed along to new outdoor Hikers.

I could just continue to go on and on with all the first you HIKING MICHIGAN people have had success with. these things have started a flood of those 100 Groups I mentioned earlier. You have also shown so many people just how important our health Parks and State natural Resources are, no matter what you Bayenjoy doing in YOUR Parks. And they are….YOUR PARKS and WATERWAYS. YOUR Hiking Group has been an inspiration to many of thousands of people in the S.E.Michigan region to GO GET OUTDOORS, if only for the health of it and your peace of mind.

I can so easily brag about all of these things because after a short time that the group really started moving along, it became very clear that it would be YOU members that would make or break this group. I have become an almost observer here. :-0 And it has been so much Fun and given me so much joy to see what all of you have done not just for yourselves here at HIKING MICHIGAN, but for all those other Outdoor groups that now exist and have taken your examples and leads and now take them as the normal for an outdoor Group. Quite an accomplishment! never to be matched again, I believe. UNLESS… is repeated with the new expanded North/Central group we started this last Summer.

HMNorthCentralLogoWith only a couple of Hikes under our belts with this expanded lower Peninsula Group, HIKING MICHIGAN is expected to cross the 10,000 membership line before the close of 2013. That’s right…..10,000 members State wide. That will be 10,000 people traveling the various Foot Trails through out Michigan, looking for all types of outdoor/Nature experiences. This is just one of the reasons our state has the true reputation as the “GREAT LAKES STATE”, and the state with so many Nature style Trails. These are the kinds of Trails that Hiking Michigan has enjoyed and grown on for 15 years, and the types of Trails that teach a deep respect for Mother Earth. They are OUR HERITAGE here in Michigan.

SevenLakesTrailsSo where are we going now, after 15 years. besides the new North/Central Group, expanded Outdoor learning programs and growing library of Park detailed Maps of special places that exist no where else, and our ever growing library of INFO sheets and Outdoor guides, we will just continue to do what you all have perfected here after 15 years. Hiking with anyone, excepting them for what they are and not some Social connection deficit or need. And wandering special habitats exchanging knowledge with one another in the most beautiful state in the nation. MICHIGAN! HIKING MICHIGAN!


Thanks gang, for the most wonderful 15 years of my life. I never expected this to happen this way, or at all. YOU made this happen, and it has been a doorway for me personally, that I would never have found if not for all of YOU. You all have my trust and faith in where ever you will take this Group in the future. You have done such a great job so far (15 years worth) I think you can be depended upon to do, another 15 years of even higher standards and greatness. πŸ™‚


Best S.E.MI. Fall Colors

October 3, 2012

So…….you read my last posting and want to actually create your own Fall colors scene. Well…..the next step is knowing just a bit about Trees. In S.E.Michigan, like most of the state, we have an abundance of varied Trees. Why do we need various species of Trees? Because each species can produce different Fall colors.

So we need some places with many different kinds of Trees, and then hopefully……old Trees. The older trees usually produce the more brilliant colors. That’s why some of the tree lines along old Farms can produce such wonderful color spreads. Older Farms have some very old separating tree lines.

This is the case in Macomb county, around Wolcott Mill Metro Park. The Mill dates back to the 1800s, and so do many of the trees. Some of the Fall colors there, are more brilliant then any other place you can visit in the Fall. Add in the river and local streams, and you have the makings for excellent colors.

In southern Oakland county, at Highland Recreation area, one can again find some of the best Fall colors around. The Park is home to almost every variety of tree represented in Michigan. This makes for some beautiful displays of many varying colors/ Again…..add in the small lakes and ponds, rolling hills and you get some of the very best in S.E. Michigan.

In northern Oakland county, Seven Lakes State Park has the same type of scenario as Highland Recreation area does. Examples of many different tree species, plenty of water and rolling hills.

These are just a few of my personal favorites in the area. But there are of course so many here in S.E.Michigan, that I could just ramble on indefinitely. So get out during this special time of year and experience the changing of the world. πŸ™‚ from Summer to Fall to Winter. We are very lucky here in Michigan to have four seasons, and Fall is such a special and colorful one.


Doesn’t Always have to be an Adventure

June 17, 2012

I have not been feeling well and do not have the energy needed to get deep into the forests out on the Trails right now. But it doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy the Parks and Outdoors and even get some excitement as well.

I spent Friday along a Lake in one of the local Parks, just sitting at a Picnic table under one of the Shelters there, talking and laughing with a good friend. I was more then satisfied with just being with my friend sharing thoughts and telling stories.

But we where treated to a constant stream of Birds and critters, while we just sat there. A nesting pair of Barn Swallows right there in the Shelter where coming and going while they fed their youngsters. After the local Chip,monk colony got used to our presence there, we counted 10 of them shooting on and out between the other tables, grasses and bushes nearby. Acting goofy, chasing each other and scaring each other. Hilarious stuff.

We set out some Oranges and some cups of water to see what that would produce. A gray Squirrel came to visit, a Chipmunk gorged himself on one of the Orange halves, a House Red House Finch kept visiting in-between a Titmouse that could not resist crawling all over the other Picnic tables.

We also got a visit from a red-headed Chirping Sparrow. beautiful little bird, while we watch an oriole go back forth to her nest in a tree nearby. Now this continued the entire time we sat and just talked there at the Shelter. I came to just enjoy the company of my friend and her conversations, but we where treated to a non-stop parade or birds and critters, doing their things.

I will post some pictures shortly. I took over 50 pictures just from my seat at the table, and was very glad I brought my Camera along. We both talked about how it isn’t always necessary to Hike 2-5 miles into the forest to see various birds and wildlife. Sometimes just hanging out in the right spot and becoming part of the scenery, allows the wildlife to go, about their business like you did not exist.

There is much to be said about becoming the tree or the bush or in this case….one of the Picnic tables there. There is also something to be said about the vibe you give off as well. We where not there to disrupt the local critters or birds. We did not abuse their comings and goings and we very much enjoyed all the activity. I truly believe that this is sensed by the birds and critters as having nothing to fear by our presence there.

I could not have had a finer afternoon. My good friend….excellent conversations, critters & birds all over the place and a lovely breeze off the Lake nearby. And we never budged from our seats on the Picnic table under the Shelter. I wonderful yet very simple time. Β We seen: Gray Squirrel, Chimunks, House Finch, Orieles, Chirpping Sparrows, Barn Swallows & Chicks, Titmouse, and a few other birds we where not able to ID.

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Conquer Nature????????

June 14, 2012

I came across a recent Flyer from a new department at our DNR. The RECREATION 101 Program. I was appalled at what I saw.

Why in the world would I want to Conquer anything in Nature? And why would our DNR….the Department of Natural Resources, and the people we have appointed to take care of our Lands, Parks & Waterways, be promoting the conquering of anything in the outdoors?

Our DNR is suppose to be taking care of our Parks and Waterways here in Michigan, not promoting the conquering of it. Does this mean that any destruction to the environment along the way to conquering something in our Parks is OK? As long as we conquer it? I am embarrassed by all of this. This is how other states see Michigan? A place where it’s citizens are out to conquer their natural world. Masters of the Universe?

If this is how the new PASSPORT money will be spent, then count me out. Our own DNR wants to train and teach people how to conquer different things in the outdoors. What kind of lack of respect does this show to the Lands and Waterways they are suppose to be looking after? Have they lost direction here? What are they even doing in the Recreation business? It isn’t the Department of Recreation.

By providing quality Natural resources, we the people can decide on our own outdoor recreation. A quality natural resources will produce a quality outdoor experience. It is a very simple process. Clean waters, free of Invasive species produce quality fishing, swimming and other outdoor experiences. Lands that are not over-run by abusers, free of Invasive species and healthy, will produce all types of quality outdoor experiences. All of which we can decide upon for ourselves.

I am completely dismayed by this CONQUER the OUTDOORS stuff. I thought once that the DNR finally had financial support through the new PASSPORT system, that the long overdue repairs to our Parks would be made. That the Invasive species that in many places outnumber the native plants would be dealt with, and the infrastructure at most of our outdated Campgrounds would finally be repaired and updated.

Michigan has always been known through out the USA as the Woods & Waters state. Now….Invasive species rule most places and the people we have put in charge of taking care of our Natural resources are focused on Conquering Nature programs, Leasing Belle Isle, and purchasing buildings in Detroit to produce an “ADVENTURE CENTER” for conquering the outdoors. How very sad. 😦



June 13, 2012

I just sent out an email to the over 5,000 members here at Hiking Michigan, informing them there would be no HIKES going until August, due to some health issues I am having taken care of. I so hated to send out this email. here we are in the middle of summer and we are halting Hikes until late August. But I have had no choice in the matter.

So I send our these emails to everyone. Now normally, when I send out a full Group bulk email, for a HIKE or Event, I get a few emails in return, either asking for more details or info or mentioning something about the Hike. So after I set up the “Mailer” I went off to eat dinner. I expected that when I ca,e back to my office, I would find most of the emails would have been sent and I would have a couple of emails in my Return Box.

Instead…..the “Mailer” had only gotten through about half of the 5,000 member list and my In Box was loaded. I thought…..Great…..Something is all jammed up and now i have to figure out who got emails and who didn’t, and then there would be some people who would be getting duplicates, and so on.

That was not the case. The E-Mailer was moving slowly because I was getting so many instant responses to the Group email that was still going out. There where so many emails from so many of the members, wishing me Good luck in my upcoming procedures. It was overwhelming.

I was so bummed out to have had to even send out this Group email and not have Hikes scheduled until August, that it was the only thing on my mind. Pretty anal….Huh? I just want to say THANK YOU Hiking Michigan people for your support and good wishes here. They mean lot to me. Like this Group has. It just continues to show me how special this Group is and how it is like no other in this state. Real, sharing, outdoor lovin people. You have created the best Group around!


Taking a short Break

June 10, 2012

If you have been to the HM web site and noticed there is nothing on the HIKES schedules for either Group, that’s because there will be no Hikes until August. I have some personal health issues that will finally be taken care of and I will not be around much over the next 6 weeks or so.

We are already set on a return schedule though. Our infamous FEN Hike at Seven Lakes State Park is the first thing on the S.E.Michigan Group’s list. It is blooming time at the FENs in August, and the rare flowers, Orchids, Picher plants and insect life are all in busy mode. We seen a Massasagua rattle snake at the FEN, the last two times we visited there. So hopefully we will get lucky again.

The last week in August will be a very big weekend for the new North/Central Hiking Group. We will be doing our Hartwick Pines weekend, starting with Aldo Leopold’s film, “Green Fire”, being shown at the Museum there. Afterwards we will be led around the giant Pine trees by a Park Ranger and avid Birder. Get ready for some real treats here.

We will be setting up reservations for an overnight Camp at the Parks Campgrounds, and a full gathering campfire Breakfast the next morning. After packing things up, we will head out again on some of the less traveled trails around the lakes in the Park. Lots of wildlife and flowers to be found there.

So that is what we already have planned and in the works for late August. In the meantime……roam around the HM web site and check out the new Downloads and Park Maps, as well as the Outdoor NewsLetter. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page and your already here at the Blog. But most importantly…..get out onto those Trails and enjoy the Parks and all the wonders the natural world has for us here in beautiful Michigan.

We will see you out on the Trails real soon. We will still be posting here on the Blog and Facebook pages, and just maybe, there might be a random Hike sneaking into the mix as well.

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