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Posts Tagged ‘Harrisville’

“My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.”  Jim Henson (1936-1990); American Puppeteer

When I woke up this morning, I knew I wanted to do something outside.   When I watched the weather and they said the winds were supposed to kick up today, I figured a bike ride would not be very fun.  So my next immediate thought was a hike.  I have been wondering if the pair of loons we seen on Reid Lake last year had come back, so we decided to go hike the Reid Lake area to check.  I packed a couple to PB&Js, some chips and chocolate and off we went.  By the time we got to the trailhead, the wind was howling, it had turned cloudy and quite cool, only in the mid 40’s.  Considering we were in the 80’s a week and a half ago, we are back to more normal temperatures now, but boy, the warm weather was nice while it lasted!

We immediately noticed the amount of down-fall.  We thought back over the winter, and realized that we may not have had much snow, but we did have a lot of wind.  And looking around, that was pretty evident.  The first junction of the Homestead Loop is right at Reid Lake, and unfortunately, no sign of the loons, but we did scare up a grouse, or should I say, it scared me!   We did a quick Tai Chi practice, to honor Mother Nature, and continued on down the trail.  About half way around the lake, we seen and heard a pair of Sandhill Cranes fly over, we figured they were going to one of the other bodies of water in the area.

We then worked our way around Fanny’s Marsh Loop and was surprised at the amount of water that was in it.  We also noticed a very large flock of Bufflehead ducks on it and almost right in the middle was a very large beaver lodge.  Whether it was still an active lodge, we couldn’t tell, but it was an impressive one.  We stopped and ate our lunch on a large fallen tree and always had to keep one eye looking up.  The wind was still quite strong and the trees were swaying and crashing into each other up high and every now and then, we seen and heard branches coming down.

We then started around the Mossy Bog Loop and that loop was definitely true to it’s name.  We found ourselves avoiding some wet areas, but not too bad for early Spring.  Until…all of a sudden our trail disappeared into the bog!  Thankfully, we were able to pick our way around the bog and eventually got back onto the main trail.  On the other side, we immediately discovered the reason for the high water, a beaver dam.  We could tell that this dam was old, but the engineering and architecture was such that it looked like it was going to be there for quite some time to come.    Just a little way up the trail, we came to a rather long foot bridge across yet another beaver pond.  This one also had a large lodge in the center of it, and again, we couldn’t tell if it was still active, but the lodge and the dam looked like they were there for the long haul.  It’s amazing what beavers can do!!

 We also spotted a lot of the False Morel Mushrooms, but couldn’t find any of the edible Morels.  Not sure if the latest cold weather put a damper on their popping up.  What we did miss today were the scurrying, furry little Chipmunks or Ground Squirrels.  We usually see at least a few dozen when we are in these woods, but today, the ground was quiet.  All of the wildlife we observed was of the winged families.

Our wildlife sighting list goes like this:  8 Wild Turkeys, 2 Hawks, 1 Grouse, a flock of Bufflehead Ducks, 4 Mallards, 2 Sandhill Cranes, and 1 Green-backed Heron.  Overall, a great 5.5 mile hike on an early Spring day.

Happy Hiking,

Sheri

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What a beautiful day!  We knew it was coming and couldn’t wait to enjoy it.  Since geocaching.com was down most of the day yesterday, updating the website, I had to wait until 7:00 pm last night to look for caches to do today.  It was my turn to decide on the area , and I wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t cached before.  Since gas prices have climbed to $4.25 a gallon, I didn’t want to go too awful far, so I decided on the Harrisville to Alpena area.

We started at a cache that we attempted to get once before but there were too many muggles around.  Now you may be wondering what on earth is a muggle?  In geocache speak, a muggle is someone who is not a cacher, but is in the vicinity of a cache that you are trying to locate.  Today’s first cache is at a Park and Ride along US 23 just north of Oscoda.  When we arrived, there wasn’t a single car in the area.  Yea!!  We quickly located the cache, but noticed that our footprints in the sand were pretty evident, so we decided to do quite a bit of walking in the sand to confuse anyone who might wonder why there were so many footprints in one area.  Anyone from a distance watching us, might think we were a little off our rockers, but at least we didn’t make it obvious as to where the cache is.

We then headed on north.  We had our first virtual cache today.  It is at the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse.  There is no actual cache container or log to sign, but to get credit for it, you have to do what the cache owner requests.  In this case, the cache owner required either a picture of you holding your GPS in front of the Light, or e-mail answers to questions they have posted on the cache page.  We opted to do the photo, since the museum is not yet open to retrieve the answers to the questions posted.  (That’s me in the photo below.)

You can see what a beautiful day it is.  The area is beautiful and there is the neatest one room schoolhouse on the grounds that was very interesting also.

From here, we headed to the Alcona and Black River area, the caches there were also very neat.  Old Alcona is considered Michigan’s only ghost town, thankfully we did not run into any mean spirits.  The little village of Black River was very nice.  One of the caches was at the park in town where the Black River empties into Lake Huron.  The river was flowing very fast, but what was so interesting is the tannins in the water, the water was the color of dark maple syrup.  After locating the cache, we ate our lunch in the park while watching a Belted Kingfisher look for his.

We then moved on to the Ossineke area, and here we had our first mystery cache.  A mystery cache usually requires you to solve some sort of puzzle or something like that to get the coordinates to the cache.  In this case, we had to solve a riddle to get the coordinates.  We thought we had the right answer, so I plugged the coordinates into our GPS, and yes, we were correct, we found the cache!  We then found a few more caches along the lakeshore before moving inland to a set of caches around Devil’s Lake.

We completed our caching day, just outside of Alpena around 3:15 pm, after finding 16 caches.  We thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful day, since tomorrow is supposed to rain.  Our wildlife tally is not as impressive as our last outing, but we did see 2 Belted Kingfishers (one was eating a small fish), 1 Kestrel, 1 Common Snipe, 1 Wild Turkey, 2 Carp in the Cranberry Creek, numerous squirrels, and 1 unidentified large bird.  Another good day.

Happy Caching,

Sheri

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