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Posts Tagged ‘Huron National Forest’

“Mistakes are proof that you are trying”  Unknown.

Christmas Morning 2012

Weather:
Mostly clear (Yeah! Haven’t seen the sun in a while!)
Temp: 17 deg F
Wind: N 10 mph
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Woke up this morning and knew right away that I had to get out and enjoy the beautiful sunshine.  We haven’t had a lot of it over that last couple of weeks, and I needed a good dose of what I call “Vitamin S (Sunshine)”.  We threw our snowshoes into the back of the Jeep and decided to walk/snowshoe a trail that we did part of this fall while geocaching, but didn’t go all the way down.  The roads were pretty icy due to the snow and then rain on top, but we didn’t have to worry about a lot of traffic, so that was a plus.

Once at the trailhead, we realized that snowshoes wouldn’t be needed so we set out.  Needless to say, the snow was pretty crunchy, but quite walkable.  Noisy as all get out so we knew the wildlife would know we were coming, yelling “Yo 100_5703Bear!” was not necessary.

We were not the only ones enjoying this trail.  There were other tracks already laid down, but not sure when they were done.  We came to the ponds that we were told were back here and weren’t sure what we were going to find.  We scared up a grouse and as usual, it scared me just as much as I scared it!  We noticed a lot of deer tracks and even some “otter slides” going down the banks to each pond.  I’ve always found humor is seeing otters sliding on their bellies instead of trying to walk through deep snow.  Wouldn’t it be funny if we did that?  Could you imagine how funny we’d look sliding around on our bellies?!  But it would be a great way to travel!

100_5708After a brief rest and some picture taking, we started back.  Found a side trail, and as usual, had to see where it went.  Found it looped around into an open area and then back to the main trail.  As we were heading back, the clouds started rolling in and the wind began picking up.  I knew my dose of Vitamin S was coming to an end, but I enjoyed it immensely!   A very nice way to spend Christmas Day!

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“To keep from getting to far ahead of myself, I can apply to life what I’ve learned from running in the woods: The step in front of you is the most important one.”  Annie Morris – Mom, Runner, Writer

I have been feeling the pull of the woods since the leaves have changed and fallen and the nights have been getting quite chilly.  I know winter is on its way and I want to get all the fall hiking/geocaching in that I can.  I quickly watch the Weather Channel and realize that Sat and Sun are going to be the best days prior to Hurricane Sandy coming ashore in New Jersey.  I know we are a long way from New Jersey, but the sheer size of the storm will affect us and our 7-day forecast shows just that-wind and rain/snow starting Monday through Thursday.  I gather my trail maps and figure out which trails we haven’t been on yet and which trails may have geocaches on or near them.  Since we had already hiked the East Entrance trails of the Hoist Lakes Foot Travel Area, we decide on the West Entrance trails and see that there are two caches near the trails.

The morning is quite chilly (31 deg), but mostly sunny and not too windy.  I pack my backpack with “trail food”, my warmest pair of mittens, a change of shoes (still breaking in a new pair), a couple of water bottles, and as a treat-a small thermos of coffee.  Since moving to Huron National Forest area, the trailhead is just a few miles up the road so we are able to actually get an early start.  We arrive at the trailhead and see at least 7 other vehicles already there!  Wow, we never see this many vehicles in the parking area, let alone know that there are other people on the trails.  We pay our required day use fee and off we go.

We quickly realize that the probably of seeing any wildlife will be very slim due to the crunching of the leaves beneath our feet and also the fact that there are quite a number of people already out there.  We are on the trail only a few minutes when I hear someone coming up behind us.  A bow hunter.  We exchange pleasantries and let him pass, he is in a much bigger hurry than we are.  I am then instantly thankful that my husband put on his hunter orange hat.  It is not rifle deer season yet, but knowing that hunters are probably out here, being visible is a plus.

On our many hikes in the National Forest, we often see the blue diamond trail markers barely hanging on or missing in general.  So my husband bought a small hammer and some nails and we fix the trail markers that need help.  We found this to be the case on the trails today.  Throughout today’s hike, we ended up fixing about seven markers.

We arrived at a small lake called Byron Lake and realized that there were people camping in the various sites in the area.  We pulled out the GPS to see how far we had to go to our first cache and wouldn’t you know, it pointed right to a campsite that was currently occupied.  We realized that we’d have to pass up that cache so I took some pictures of the lake and we moved on down the trail.  A little while later we arrived at another lake with no name.  I pondered the thought of “what would I name this lake”?  I asked my husband that question and his answer- “Lake in the Middle of Nowhere”.  True, but I was thinking of something like “Serenity Lake” or “Little Lake All By Itself”.  Silly I know, but it kept my mind occupied for a while.  We were able to locate this cache quickly and then found our way back to the trail and decided to eat lunch there.

On the final two segments of the loop, we noticed the excessive amount of downed trees across the trail.  We began to feel that this section hadn’t been hiked in a while, or the cutbacks in the budgets of our Forest Service and DNR impacted the maintenance of these trails.  Either way, we decided to help out and fix the trail markers that were damaged, missing, or hiding on fallen trees.  It’s the least we can do since we enjoy the use of the Forest.

Even though we couldn’t be very quiet while hiking, we did stir up a couple of grouse, many chipmunks, and quite a few black squirrels.  Another good day in the woods.

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“You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you. ”

Vandana Shiva  (born 1952); Philosopher, Environmental Activist, Author

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written!  It’s been a very busy year so far.  To sum it up fairly quickly:

January:  trip to Upper Peninsula for 25th anniversary and skiing and snowshoeing.

February:  Husband taking emergency trip to FL to take care of his father’s estate.

April:  motorcycle safety course and purchase of new Yamaha V-Star.

May:  began searching for a new home to buy.

July:  found a wonderful little house on an inland lake in the middle of the Huron  National Forest, put offer in, offer accepted.   Also found buyer for our current residence.

August:  packing and closing on new home.  Began painting in new home.

September:  closed on sale of current residence.  Finished painting, continuing to move belongings out of storage.

October:  Finally out of storage and here we are today, wondering where on earth 2012 went!

I guess when I put it like that, it’s been a busy year and no wonder it’s flown by!  Now that we are getting pretty settled in our new home, we absolutely love it here.  The thing that we noticed the most is the darkness!  At our old home, we were surrounded by lights.  To see a meteor shower or just to star gaze in general, was pretty hard.  We could see the brightest stars, but nothing like what we see now.

The wildlife is also amazing to us.  We have a herd of approximately 20 deer that seem to think our yard is their personal grazing area and also a flock of wild turkey that come and go as they please.  Also a couple of rabbits, many squirrels and chipmunks, and also other various critters that we hear but don’t always see.  After seeing the deer in our yard one day, I realized that I’m going to have to think very carefully about what I plant and try to figure out what deer DON’T like to eat, so that I may have some kind of a flower garden, instead of just stubs of plants for the entire summer.  We also had a pair of Common Loons on the lake.  Our neighbors tell us that this summer was their fifth summer here.  It’s wonderful to hear them, especially in the evenings and early mornings.  They have since left the lake for their migration south, and I sincerely hope they return next spring.  We also had approximately 15 Trumpeter Swans show up a couple of weeks ago, I’m sure they were just stopping for a rest break on their migration trip.  They took off in one large group yesterday and have not since returned.  I know now why they are called ‘Trumpeter’ Swans.  When the mass starts sounding off, they sound like a group of kids picking up horns for the first time.

Our color was absolutely beautiful this fall.  For as hot and dry as it was this summer, I was surprised at the intensity of the color.  Even though it was about two weeks early, it came quickly, but lasted quite a long time.  We have since had some high winds and most of those beautiful leaves are now in our yard—it was still a treat to see such vivid colors.

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