We have been hiking and walking fools lately, on account of the leaves and beautiful weather are going, going… I won’t say it, but it was 80 degrees (27 C) here today, and incredibly windy…and it’s raining and still windy now…and it’s only supposed to be in the upper 40s (8 C) tomorrow. *Sigh* The weather doesn’t improve in the foreseeable future, assuming the weather folks aren’t lying, so I feel justified for all miles we’ve logged on short excursions.
Mostly we’ve just been going to our neighborhood parks for a couple miles a day, but last weekend after car shopping (we get to pick up our new vehicle tomorrow afternoon – no more fears that the little Volkswagen won’t make it through the snow and sand), we drove up to the Leelanau State Park. Back in July, Tony and I attempted to enjoy the ~6 miles of trails there, but ended up running from mosquitoes in the late afternoon. We vowed to return in the fall in the post-mosquito season. Since we just walked the nearby Pyramid Point loop, Leelanau hikes were fresh in our brains and we happened to remember those paths at the tip of the peninsula.
We took our time driving north from Traverse City, stopping to enjoy the unusually calm bay, and pulling over to see if that bird way up there was an eagle. We turned around a couple of times to go see that pond back there, and oh, while we’re here, let me get a shot of that barn.
We arrived at the trails off of Densmore Road – there are a few trails at the State Park near the lighthouse – in the late afternoon. Still in no hurry, we decided to traipse through the leaves, following the trails around the edge instead of short-cutting via paths that cut through the park’s interior. We checked out a swampy lake, which I must say is far more attractive in the fall when it’s no longer breeding hoards of vampiric insects, and breathed in the golden light that bathed the whole forest.
As we neared the western edge of the park, we opted for the Pothole Ridge route on account of it had a cool name. The trail, disguised by piles of fallen leaves, wound in through the woods, and then up on a ridge. I didn’t see any potholes, but I was completely enamored of the moss cushioning our steps. The vibrant green carpet coupled with the ocher fallen leaves, and edged by white paper birches topped in bright yellow easily stands out as my favorite section of the whole trip.
Another mile or so along, and we arrived at the Lake Michigan overlook. On most other days, we’d be drawn directly to the water, but we were so engrossed in the fleeting fall atmosphere of the woods that we quickly darted back under the remaining canopy. As evening progressed, we completed the journey back to the car, satisfied with the refreshing flush the cool air had induced on our cheeks.
As the rain pours down outside, the temperature plummets, and the wind blows away the few lingering leaves, I’m glad we’ve taken advantage of the glorious days we’ve had. I expect we’ll still find excuses to get out in the darkening days ahead, but I’ll be thinking wistfully either of autumn crimsons and golds or pillows of snow. Who’s looking forward to winter with me?