Little Hikes and a Word about Gratitude

We’re getting our payback for late July/early August in northern Michigan. We endured about three weeks of cold temperatures then, but we’ve enjoyed truly wonderful fall weather so far this season. Today, it’s sunny, windy, and warm. Perfect for a walk later 🙂

spotlit shroom

Over the weekend, we had hoped to kayak the Platte River. The salmon are scrambling up the rivers on their annual spawning run, and we like to float above and watch the foray. Alas, though it was exceptionally pleasant, it was also windier than we’d have liked, so we opted for some local hikes instead.

Pyatt Lake

We meandered around the short trail at the Pyatt Lake natural area. It’s a decent place to wander around, but aside from the lake (pond?), there’s nothing too spectacular here. Well, except for that spot-lit mushroom above 😉

Next we headed on up the Old Mission Peninsula for the trails beyond Haserot Beach. The wild grapes have ripened, decorating the trail’s edge in gold, and the ivy and sumac are resplendent in red.

Click any image to embiggen. I’m partial to the bench.

All the normal early fall specimens dotted the pathside: yellow-veined red maple leaves, golden beech leaves, ochre grasses, wildflowers in a few hues of purple, and of course – an array of toadstools.

We only hiked a couple of miles (it was 80 degrees in the shade, and we were overdressed!), but I am so glad we have these areas around to explore. They don’t have to be anything special for me to find them special. Just that they exist for folks to unwind and renew is enough, because I use them for exactly that. And I am grateful that others – namely those who use and keep up the trails – value them, too.

Into the woods, and outta the woods…and home before dark!

My blogging friend Kathy (okay, so she’s a real person, too; we’ve met and I could just call her my friend now) recently posted a blog about being thankful for things. I figure I can’t ignore the serendipity of the timing – I had also just learned of a study supporting the idea that people who are appreciative are happier. Thus my moment of gratitude. I’m not going to set a schedule for my moments of appreciation/thankfulness, but I am going to try to pay it forward a bit, and be more consciously aware of the little things for which I ought to be happy. Feel free to join me. It should make you happy. 🙂

On a Mission at Mission Point

First things first: Apologies to email readers and RSS subscribers that I keep hitting publish before titling posts!

If I’m honest, things are not going great with the insulation. Actually, if I’m honest, things are not going at all. It was 70 degrees (21 C) here today – 70! In November! – it wasn’t raining, and we’re looking at rain followed by snow for the next few days. Perhaps we’ll get around to the important stuff inside when we don’t have such a fetching reason to be outside. Continue reading

A Touch of Snow on the Glacial Hills

I’m sure you’ve all been fretting over my sanity, worrying that I might have been stuck inside one more day 😉 Worry no more, because the weather was kind enough to let me outside this afternoon, even after all the not nice things I said about it yesterday.

Camera acquires protective scarf 😉

A short ride up the road delivered us to the Glacial Hills Pathway, a place I had read about and we have driven by, but not explored. Since it’s still early in the season (which I’m officially calling “winter,” and I believe with Kathy’s blessing), I over-dressed. For near-freezing temps and low wind, wool socks, leggings, jeans, two long-sleeved shirts, scarf, hat, light gloves, and light-weight down coat were a tad over-the-top. By the end of the hike, I had unzipped my coat, lost the hat and gloves, and dressed my camera in my scarf.

Just steps down the trail we spotted signs of accumulation. O the excitement! Concerned that I might miss my one opportunity to photograph snow, I snapped some photos. I needn’t have worried. Our predicted dry skies were instead filled with our trademark lake effect snow, giving me lots to share (below).

Overall, the hike was unexciting, but it was an enjoyable trek through nicely aged hardwoods over rolling glacial hills (hence the name). Surrounded by a simple muted orange and green palette (there are still a lot of hardy ferns, grasses and mosses out there!), we were more finely attuned to detail. I found itty bitty mushrooms, snails crawling through mouldering leaves, and tiny sprouts of moss poking up through tufts of snow. My favorite sight of the day, though, were the saplings, draped in snow-and-water-drop lace.

Though the trail is exceptionally well-marked, we still managed to miscalculate the distance. One would think we’d have learned our lesson on that, but apparently one would be wrong. This time we only hiked about 4.3 miles, with only a ~3/4 mile surprise (as opposed to the ~11 instead of ~6 in the UP). We were only out for about two hours, but it was two glorious hours not inside. Up next, who knows?

Click any photo for a larger version/slideshow

Before the last leaf falls

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. Continue reading