On August 2, several rounds of fierce summer storms swept through northern Michigan. We won’t talk about how I didn’t get out in time for the really awesome photos of one of the rounds of storms (not that I’m still upset about missing my opportunity or anything). Ninety mile-per-hour winds accompanied the last round that rolled through, with several notable downdrafts. The storm is reported to have been the worst one the area has seen in at least 25 years.

We got lucky, losing only a few small limbs off our trees, but nearby areas did not fare so well. Today, we decided to hike one of the still-closed trails, taking the signs as more of a “you can’t sue us if you get hurt” warning.

The trail started off mostly clear, though we could see huge sections of forest on either side that had been laid over by the winds. Soon, though, we came across more substantial devastation.


Not long thereafter, our trail was lost entirely to a labyrinth of trunks and branches. We scrabbled on for a bit – finally turning back after a minor mishap that separated group like we were in a scary movie. (We all made it back to the car safely, though not entirely unscathed.)

It is sobering to see the tops snapped off huge trees and to see so many uprooted. It’s haunting to see trees fractured near the base of their trunks, and to see the scrapes the trees collected as they crashed to their deaths amid their longstanding peers.

On a lighter note, just before we rejoined the trail, we came across a fledgling squirrel. The tiny thing wasn’t moving well enough to run away from us, but it didn’t seem hurt either. Petey was super curious, so we allowed him to approach slowly. He jumped back every time the baby squirrel twitched at all, but he gently sniffed it, and then we went on our way.


Whoever said pit bulls are inherently dangerous obviously never met this one.

10 thoughts on “Wreckage

  1. Wow, it must have been hard to see all that damage. Love your photo of the storm clouds – they look ominous!
    We had a huge ice storm a few years ago that made walking in the woods similarly impossible. Nature prunes and new plants grow. It’s a great recycling system!
    That baby squirrel is cute, as is gentle Petey, of course!

  2. Wow, and this is just one small little area. I bet it really pruned out a lot of the dying ash trees out there. Petey is adorable! Did you get stung? Just curious…I hope not.

    • I’m sure it took them down! Lots of all kinds of trees just bowled over, but also in concentrated areas. You can see right where the major downdrafts occurred.
      I didn’t get stung, but Petey did. We were crossing through an area, and Petey backtracked on us. I turned back to help Tony recollect him, and as I went to pass under some stuff I had previously come through, I heard a loud buzzing. Next thing I know, my legs are surrounded by a few dozen bees/hornets (I think hornets). I moved as slowly as I could, and then just stood still until they lost interest in me. But Petey refused to come anywhere near the area. It took us a while, but we all reconnected, and Petey is totally fine. I head out for allergy shots in about 10 minutes 🙂

  3. I’m glad you weren’t hurt. I expect there will plenty more storms for you to photograph.

    That’s a great shot of Petey and a squirrel who will have an unusual memory. “See that big white thing. That’s my dad that is. He’s a pirate”. I’m afraid you’re going to be upstaged until you get an eye patch. 😀

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