Walking, Walking, Walking on Trails

Sunny, 60’s, blue, and breezy – today was a perfect early summer day Up North. Before I moved here from northern Georgia, I wondered if I would be cold in the summers. After all, it was often in the 90’s there over spring break, while it often snows here…in May. But five years in, I can assert what I already knew from acclimatizing to the Miami heat: you adjust. Not only do I manage to stay warm during most of our winter activities, but I also find that 70’s now feel hot – a far cry from the days in Miami when 75 felt cold!
For my overseas friends: 60’s = 15-21C, 70’s = 21-27C, 75 = 24C, 90’s = 32-38C

tonysebastian

Thus, while mid-60’s might feel chilly to some of you, it was a beautiful day up here, and Tony and Petey and I had a tough time staying inside. We took a nice long walk this morning, then another at lunch, another after dinner, and then we went hiking this evening with our friend Sebastian (smiling in the photo above).

We met at the trails over by the Boardman River, just south of Traverse City. I don’t know why, but these trails aren’t talked about much in local trail literature. They’re well-tended, have beautiful views, and even feature multiple river access points.

boardmanpano

I’m not sure how far we walked – somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 miles – but I am sure we enjoyed every second of it, and didn’t get swarmed by mosquitoes. The jury is still out on the ticks, which I am a little twitchy about, since I pulled two OUT of my skin the other day :-/

Unlike all the others, these are not from today. But they are other views of the river, just upstream from our hike.

It’s in the 50’s now, and several of our neighbors are having campfires. If it weren’t approaching midnight, I’d be thinking more seriously about some s’mores. Maybe I’ll just stock up tomorrow so that I’m prepared. Or maybe we’ll just go for another walk 😉

PS – All the photos here can be clicked for bigger views, if you like.

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Some Words on Wednesday

Spring might be in the air, but winter is still on the ground. I pretended it wasn’t yesterday morning, and took Petey on his walk in running shoes. I even ran for a couple minutes at my new cadence. It wasn’t fun – it feels like I’m Velma Dinkley with a tiny stride. But it fits my short legs better, so I’ll incur less joint damage and therefore less pain this way.

We had some errands to run yesterday, and we knew we’d want to walk around town, so we let Pete be a wild man at Hickory Meadows.
meadow

Actually, we let him roam off leash until other dogs and their owners approached, and then we on-leashed him until we got the go-ahead. Petey can come on a little strong, and not everyone responds well to that. I just wished they realized that having their dogs unleashed and uncontrolled kind of drives our dog nuts (which is not the same as doughnuts). Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

spotlit-Petey

Petey had a big time with several new canine pals, and ended up panting despite the 50-degrees with a breeze and mushy snow pack. In fact, he got so toasty that he tunneled through the snow, and wallowed around like a pig in that stuff pigs like to roll in. I’ll post a video later on Instagram (you don’t have to be on Instagram to view photos or videos in my stream) or on Facebook if you want to see his shenanigans.

burning-Boardman

The upshot of all this was that we enjoyed one of the most laid back walks through downtown Traverse City that we’ve ever had. Petey was mellower even than our sunset, and we felt absolutely at peace. Except for the chill creeping in, because as I said – it’s still winter on the ground even if it is melting away.
melting-bay

A Beautiful Day in This Small World

Yesterday Tony and Petey and I left the house, on the way to somewhere. We didn’t know where we were going, just that we’d get there eventually. Twenty minutes later as we entered Traverse City, we settled on an area south of town where we had previously hiked, but only briefly. After a couple wrong turns – we didn’t consult a map, though we had our phones – we arrived at the Boardman River.

The trail was prettier than we had expected, with a lush canopy above and multiple access points to the clear, swift water below. (The mosquitoes weren’t even bad!) Petey was hesitant to wander much deeper than his elbows, until we let him off his leash to play with a dog (Bronna) who kept visiting us from around the bend. Bronna’s mom apologized for her wayward pup, and we returned the favor with an apology for the sand Petey contributed to their beach blanket.

We chatted on the banks to Bronna’s mom and grandma for several minutes as the dogs raced around, in and out of the water. We talked about where we all lived, and learned that they were immediate relatives of a neighbor who lives on our road, just over a mile away. After the dogs settled down a bit, we peeled Petey away to continue exploring the trails.

The path meandered through the woods and along grassy meadows (thanks, pollen, for the itchy eyes, etc), always near enough to hear the flowing water.

Wildflowers abounded, and I half-wished for a field identification book so that I could accurately name what we spotted. I know we saw irises (yellow) right along the river banks, purple vetch, and locust. There were lots of different little yellow flowers, and a similar number of white ones.

There were several butterflies, too, including a pretty iridescent one with hints of blue. I don’t know what it was either. At least I know that the one that sat for me was a monarch, so I’m not entirely hopeless 😉

After three hours on the trails and in the river, we loaded our tired selves into the car. Petey napped in the shade while Tony and I grabbed dinner, and then we stopped at the pet store to get some wipes for his tummy. (We’re pretty sure he’s allergic to the tall grasses that he so loves to use for exploration and potty time.) On our way out of the store, a couple and their daughter eyed Petey, and remarked how similar he was to their female pit bull. As dog folks like to do (see – I’m doing it right now!), we started talking about our furry ones. We mentioned that our puppy was a shelter boy, and then exchanged dog names (she’s Tilly). The guy then, exclaimed: “I know this dog!” He asked if we happened to get him from the Benzonia shelter (we did), and then the real excitement ensued. He filmed the Dog Man movies, and filmed part of Dog Man 2 at the shelter, and was there while Petey was…and Petey is apparently in the film. They had seriously considered adopting Petey, and were thrilled to see him in his happy life.

We all returned home, tired and happy – me with little happy tears, grateful for the day in this small world.

O Snowy Night

Aside from some lake effect snow at the end of November, it’s been pretty dreary up here. I have this idea that December 1 is a magical date, capable of imparting pillowy snow. Not so. I have pouted and generally been unenjoyable (I kid, I kid. I think/hope.) to be around, complaining about how there’s just nothing outside to do. But as you can imagine, my impertinence had no impact on the weather. Fortunately for Tony, a storm system arrived yesterday bringing snow.

Snowy road Continue reading

The Deceit of Late Winter

We spent last week working and visiting in the south. Atlanta is at its best in the spring – if you have other opinions, we’ll have to respectfully disagree. For the most part, the weather was pleasant – we even had a couple of 70+ degree days! – and many of the trees were blooming. Our travels were tiring, but also hugely rewarding.

Even so, we are glad to be home. We enjoyed brunch on the patio at Amical, which was delicious. We contemplated driving up the M-22 to scope out the Bay, but instead opted for a 2-hour stroll along the beaches in Traverse City. Loads of people were out walking their dogs, jogging, biking, and otherwise enjoying the gift of Capricious Late Winter. I alternately thought I did and did not need a jacket, and the sights were a bit incongruous as well: deep blue skies, clear grounds, snow piles. Last week, two feet of snow. Today, 62, sunny and slightly breezy.

West Bay blues

Lichen on the shore

Beach tree

Him and Her ducks on the Boardman River

Season-opening steelhead

Normally this kind of day would have left me slobbering to scour the forest floors for morels. Even though it fees like a perfect spring day, I know better. I have hunted Easter eggs in April many times – 500 miles south of here at that! I don’t expect that winter is over, even if most of the snow is gone, but that did not stop us from enjoying the day today. I think Tony might even have a hint of sunburn on his cheeks 🙂