A Falls-less Fallsville

After work this afternoon, mom and I wound our way over to the Fallsville Wildlife Area. I could be making this up, but the area is named, presumably, after the waterfalls formed when the Clear Creek cascades over a 15-foot drop. Or it does in non-drought-at-the-end-of-August. I’ve been there when there’s water in the creek, and the falls are a beautiful surprise amidst the area’s usual pastoral scenery.

Mom and I simply enjoyed hiking the dry creek bed this time. Much of the exposed rock was so dry that the normally slippery algae was instead a dry crust. The area still held unexpected beauty; more leaves than I had expected were tinged with gold, and the very occasional breeze whispered through them, providing a nice soundtrack where the falls failed.

At the beginning of our descent into the falls area, I tried to spy another, easier way down to the falls. (Remember – my mom just had that surgery, regaining her ability to for-real-walk back in June.) She hopped down  – a drop of about five feet in a tight, rocky crevice – and beckoned. Well, obviously I was underestimating her (sorry Mom!).

We clambered over rocky outcroppings and tumbled stones, until the puddles of creek disappeared from view. Despite the heat and sweat dripping down my back (thanks, camera bag), we had a great time. I’m pretty sure we’ll go back to shopping for our “girl time” when the weather worsens, but it’s great to get out for a brief hike together again!

I love you Mom. Please forgive my use of this picture that I also love 🙂

Snorkeling for Lunch

Do you remember back in June when Tony and I went out in search of a future dive site? Today during lunch we went back there – the Petobego Natural Area- armed with our snorkel gear and camera. We originally learned about it from a couple of guys we met at a dive site in Northport, who described the area as having some interesting underwater sawdust-plus-sand formations.

Back in the lumbering days, there was a sawmill located on the water near Angell Road south of Elk Rapids. As a result, the sandbars that surround the current Petobego Pond are full of sawdust. As we walked along the shore, this odd mixture of sand and dust barked (very similar to the sound of H2 + O2 –> H2O in a test tube, which I know is very specific, but I did  teach high school science) with every step. I couldn’t help but barking my way along like I do on gym floors in squeaky shoes 🙂
Looks like sand, “pops” like burning hydrogen


We left our belongings at the edge of the water and then ventured in. We stayed within the pond since the nearby bay was rather choppy. Overall, we were pretty disappointed with the site for snorkeling/free diving. There just wasn’t much to see, although there were tons of tiny fish schooling around us. (Presumably we’d have better luck if we swam to the drop out on the bay…maybe next time.) The bottom was very soft (probably the whole ground wood meets ground stone thing), which I found a bit unnerving. Also, it kicked up into the water easily, reducing visibility.

Despite the flash accidentally being on without my noticing 😦 I still like the left-hand snap because the surface of the water from below looks neat – plus that sun-dappled bottom 🙂

But, right before we decided to hop out of the water, I spotted something I’ve never seen up here:

I’m pretty sure it’s a gar. When you’re submerged in water, you can’t exactly shout for your swim buddy. Instead, I excitedly waved my arms around in his general direction until he noticed. Unlike most fish that immediately dart away when they detect your presence, this guy languidly swam around for awhile before finally and slowly swimming away.

Note: In my attempts to verify what the guys in Northport told us, I came across some info suggesting that this place is a favorite for kiteboarders. You can get here by boat, or by walking along the shore…on private property. If you plan to visit this site via a hike in, stick to the water’s edge.

Only for a moment and the moment’s gone

We enjoyed a complete lack of adventure today. I lounged around in pj’s until well after lunch, munched sun-warmed tomatoes from my “garden,” and even had a few ripe grapes straight from our vines (speaking of which – I might make something from all those gorgeous bunches this year!). Rain blew in during the early afternoon, so we drove into TC to shop for Jess’s birthday present. (Success! Now I just need her suggestion for a cake, ahem.) Continue reading

Exploring the Huron Side

Yesterday afternoon we decided to take a driving tour of the northern lower peninsula and the Lake Huron coast. We’ve been on the east coast of the state once since we moved here over two years ago, and we didn’t really even get out of the car. Since it was such a steamy day, we didn’t do too much adventuring, but even so, we ran across a few gems. Continue reading

Trip to da UP – Final Installment

I’ve winnowed down my photos from our trip to the UP last weekend; I’ve tried – probably unsuccessfully – to break them up into manageable chunks so I don’t overwhelm you. I’m projecting. It’s really so I don’t overwhelm myself. Regardless, I’ll share a bit more from our excursion and then, I promise, I’ll move on to something else…like the fact that I had just begun to welcome fall when temperatures in the nineties moved in for the weekend. Sigh. Continue reading