The Great Skegemog Melt

Despite hovering right around the freezing mark, the sun was shining this afternoon giving the appearance of a much warmer day. And since we’ve endured far colder days, I decided it would be a perfect day for a hike – because really, when isn’t it? Since sunset happens later than 7:30 now, I waited until after dinner (which Tony cooked because he’s awesome!) to load Petey in the car.

Skegemog adventure

The parking lot, such as it was, did not look promising. I switched out my running shoes in favor of the waterproof winter boots that I’m tired of wearing. Most of the trail back to the swamp was fine, being along an old railroad bed.
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A good portion of the swamp trail was fine, too. It was either frozen or boardwalk.

As we neared the viewing platform, though, our luck ran out and the trail ran underwater. Petey, who had happily been trotting ahead and then coming back to check in, stopped at the edge suddenly unsure of where to go. Grateful for my olde faithful boots, I plunged ahead and then called him after me. He looked at me like I was a crazy lady (I’m not arguing that he’s wrong), and then decided that maybe it wasn’t so scary after all. He wasn’t nearly so trepidatious about climbing up the viewing platform, again bounding ahead of me.

Left photo shows our underwater trail. Right photo shows a dog in my face 😉

We stayed atop the platform overlooking the lake and swamp for several minutes, enjoying the warmth of the evening sun and the trill of the many redwing blackbirds. Much of the lake is frozen, but the swamp is open, so that’s a nice change.

On the way back out, Mr. Petey Puppy expanded his horizons a bit, exploring just off the side of the trail. I stayed up where I was sure it was dry, but he assures me he had a better time. Based on his snores down at my feet now, I think he might be right.

I called Tony to check in with my plans, which he guessed were “…staying out taking way too many photos of the sunset and having to hike back in the dark.” He knows me well, but we were already driving over to Torch Lake to check out its melt progress, so there Tony. Signs point to slow. (In case you missed that, we did not have to hike back in the dark 😉 )
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Little Beauties in the Skegemog Swamp

According to something I read on the internet, in Michigan you’re never more than six miles from a natural water source. Four out of five Great Lakes prefer Michigan (I totally stole this from a bumper sticker that I’d like to have as a t-shirt) – giving us about the same amount of coastline as the US Atlantic Coast – in addition to more than 11,000 inland lakes.

As a state, we are waterlogged – a fact that is difficult to appreciate fully. Continue reading

Taking the U.P. by Storm – Part 2

If you followed my previous blog post, then you probably caught that I only revealed pictures and (scant) details of our hike along the Lake Superior shores in the Pictured Rocks National Park. I didn’t intentionally omit the hike details, but I didn’t want to overdo it on the words, since I know that not everyone wants to read hundreds of them. Of course, you can always scan ahead to the pictures that you’ve likely come to expect here. (Are you still reading? You are? Okay, I’ll go on.) I did intentionally split up the pictures from our trip to da U.P. because I took nearly 700 of them. I think the button must have gotten stuck on my camera 😉 Continue reading

Rapid River Stroll

Would you like to accompany me on a walk? Oh good – there for a second I thought you might say no. Let’s just take a quick jaunt over to that spot we found so many mushrooms last spring so that we can gauge how the growth is progressing. Ohh! There’s one. Do you see it? You’re right – there’s another one…make that two! Perfect. The season is really getting started now!

Let’s leave them to see how much they grow; they are tiny. How about we go over to the Rapid River? We can walk down that path along the banks of the water. Better grab a jacket though – it’s only 45 degrees, and it’s not getting any warmer as the sun goes to bed.
Shall we ponder the brook trout that are surely hiding in the clear, swift current as it braids itself around terrestrial outcroppings?

Or what about the frogs – or mosquitoes – that must be breeding here?

Be sure to keep an eye out for cedar stumps…

and swamp marigold clumps…

and gnarly tree trunks. How old do you think it is?

Are your toes as chilly as mine? I think it’s time for a heated blanket and perhaps a hot beverage. Would you like a marshmallow in yours? Me too.

Thank you for joining me on this brief hike; let’s do it again soon!

Return of the Swamp Thing

For tonight at least, I am writing shorter blogs with fewer pictures.  Okay, it might be more honest to say that I’ve simply taken less time since last post than normal, and thus have fewer pictures to cram in.  Hmm…

Yesterday was a beautiful preview of fall Up North.  We recently got some much-needed rain that got pushed out of the area by some cooler and drier air.  The sky was full of drama all day, and we had big plans later that night: pizza, homemade ice cream with homemade salted caramel sauce (if you saw the Facebook post and are wondering why I won’t shut-up about this, you just haven’t tasted heaven-in-food yet), followed by Perseid-watching.  In between pizza and ice cream, we headed to the local swamp for a brief hike through some wetlands. Continue reading