Dune Days at Sleeping Bear

Dune Days by Mark Smith

Mark took this beautiful photo a couple of summers ago on the Treat Farm Trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Guessing it looks much the same today, but you should check it out just to be sure! ūüėČ

Head over to Mark’s Flickr for more & here’s the Park’s writeup on the trail:

The trail that leads from the corner of Norconk Road into the woods is about ¬Ĺ mile long through the maple-beech forest and will take you to the Treat Farm. As you reach the top of the hill, the canopy of trees opens up to a view of the farmstead. A portion of the original barn has been rebuilt on the original foundation.

Visitors are drawn to this intriguing farmstead for several reasons. The trail leading up the slight incline from Norconk Road holds an allure of its own… it seems to beckon passers-by. It piques the curiosity by conjuring visions of what might be at its terminus. It is also one of the most beautiful areas for spring wildflowers in all of Michigan!

Click for trail map & check out more great Michigan trails on Michigan in Pictures.

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Sturgeon Bay Outhouse & Winter Cabin Camping at Wilderness State Park

sturgeon-bay-outhouse

Sturgeon Bay Outhouse, photo by David Clark

We’re going to let David Clark of one of my favorite blogs, Cliffs and Ruins, take over today’s post. He writes:

The most scenic walk to an outhouse award goes to Sturgeon Bay Cabin at Wilderness State Park, where this line of wind-blown cedars escorts you to the potty.

I took this photo on the 2nd day of my snowshoe adventure at Wilderness State Park in December 2016, after a heavy snowfall the night before. I enjoyed 3 days of spectacularly good snowshoeing and utter solitude. Read more at my blog: Winter Cabin Camping at Wilderness State Park.

I really encourage you to check out¬†David’s post for photos and a great account of his visit to Wilderness State Park which is located on the northwest shore of the lower peninsula, to the west of the Mackinac Bridge.¬†This is an adventure¬†I really hope to take!!

View David’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his Wilderness State Park 2016 slideshow.

Back into the Woods Day, 2016

the-runner

The Runner, photo by Scott Laidlaw

December 1st¬†is one¬†of my personal holidays, Back into the Woods Day, which of course is the day after deer hunting season ends when it’s once again safe to wander Michigan’s woods & trails.

View Scott’s photo background big and see more in his Explored! slideshow.

Dancing in the Air: Birding Trails & Bird Sanctuaries in Michigan

Egrets Dancing in the Air

Dancing in the Air, photo by Jiafan(John) Xu

I’m pretty¬†sure that these are¬†Great Egrets (Ardea alba)¬†but would appreciate confirmation from any birders in the audience.

On the Pure Michigan blog, Mallory King of the Michigan Audubon Society writes that birding is currently the second fastest growing hobby in the United States after gardening with over 47 million people identifying as birdwatchers. She shares some great Michigan birding trails and sanctuaries to help you get going with birding:

The Superior Birding Trail: This trail covers 150 miles in the Upper Peninsula from the Seney National Wildlife Refuge to Whitefish Point; you can observe over 300 bird species here.

The Sleeping Bear Birding Trail: The SBBT West which the trial is commonly referred too, includes 123 miles from Manistee to Traverse City along the scenic M-22 highway and Lake Michigan shoreline; here over 250 bird species can be observed.

The Beaver Island Birding Trail: Located entirely on Lake Michigan’s largest island, encompasses over 100 miles of road and 12,000 acres of natural habitat; over 250 bird species can be spotted on this adventurous trail.

The Saginaw Bay Birding Trail: Also known as SBBT East, takes travelers 142 miles along the Lake Huron shoreline from Port Crescent State Park to Tawas Point State Park, the trail is home to over 200 bird species and an abundance of quaint Michigan towns.

Read on for a list of the sanctuaries and more at Pure Michigan.

John took this last month, presumably in the Keweenaw area. View his photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures!

December 1st … Back into the Woods Day

Sit for a Spell

sit for a spell, photo by Doug Jonas

Longtime readers may know that I celebrate December 1st as “Back into the Woods Day” because for my money, the hardest 15 days for the year for the non-hunting lover of the outdoors in Michigan are November 15-30th. Enjoy¬†as you will – orange clothing not required!

The photo was taken in Michigan State University’s W.K. Kellogg Experimental Forest¬†in Augusta, midway between Kalamazoo & Battle Creek:

Established on abandoned agricultural land, the 716-acre Kellogg Experimental Forest is known worldwide for research on tree breeding and genetics, planting techniques, and plantation establishment and management. Much of the research that developed the Spartan spruce, a hybrid that combines the color and drought resistance of a blue spruce and the softer needles and rapid growth rate of the white spruce, was done at the Kellogg Forest. The forest is open to the public for biking, hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing, and has several interpretive trails.

Click for visitor information¬†and there’s also some videos of what researchers are up to that show some of this beautiful spot.

Doug says this was an enchanted afternoon in the woods, with sun, shadow, snow and reflected sky. View his photo background bigilicious and click for more of his great Michigan photos.

More winter wallpaper and lots more parks & trails on Michigan in Pictures!

Walking into an Autumn Rainbow

Walking into an Autumn Rainbow

Walking into an Autumn Rainbow, photo by Owen Weber

Perfect title!

I feel like I didn’t get a chance to say farewell to fall, so I’ll do it this week. The first is from my backyard, on the trail that leads to the Empire Bluffs in the¬†Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

View the photo bigger,¬†see more in Owen’s Michigan slideshow. and also check out his website at¬†owenweberphotography.com to view & purchase prints.

More fall color on Michigan in Pictures.

Passing Pluto

Charons Crossing aka Pluto

Charon’s Crossing, photo by Andrew McFarlane

Anyone remember Hipstamatic? This is a shot of Pluto in Dave Kirby’s cool installation of the planets along the TART trail in Traverse City (created prior to¬†the de-planetization of Pluto).¬†I don’t usually feature my own photos here, but I had to find something to celebrate¬†NASA’s historic 3,000,000,000 mile journey to Pluto:

After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.

“I’m delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space,” said John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s multifaceted journey of discovery continues.”

Read on for more and definitely check out the New Horizons Mission at NASA for lots more about our mission to explore Pluto, its moons and the Kuiper Belt at the furthest reaches of our solar system.

More science on Michigan in Pictures.

Hiking to happiness

expedition

expedition, photo by brian

A couple months ago, Trish P shared an article from Outside Magazine about findings from British & Michigan researchers that Hiking Makes You Happier:

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University in England evaluated 1,991 participants in England’s Walking for Health program, which hosts nearly 3,000 walks per week for more than 70,000 regular participants. They found that the nature walks were associated with significantly less depression in addition to mitigating the negative effects of stressful life events and perceived stress. The findings were published in the September issue of Ecopsychology.

Sara Warber, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and senior author of the study, said that the large sample was a defining factor.

‚ÄúWe observed behaviors of a large group, in which some chose to walk and some chose not to, instead of us telling them what to do,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúAfter 13 weeks, those who walked at least once a week experienced positive emotions and less stress.‚ÄĚ

Easy enough!¬†Read on for more, and¬†explore Michigan’s vast trail network at Pure Michigan.

Brian took this shot at Silver Lake Dunes State Park. View it bigger and see more in his Fractions slideshow.

More black & white photography and more dunes on Michigan in Pictures.

Bikes pumping up Michigan’s economy

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, photo by Bill Dolak

This pic reminded me of an article I read a couple weeks ago in the Detroit News on the economic impact of bicycles in Michigan:

Bicycling pumps an estimated $668 million per year into Michigan’s economy, according to a recent report from the Michigan Department of Transportation. That figure factors in the nearly 800 people employed in bicycle-related jobs, along with retail revenue, tourism expenses, lower health care costs and a boost in productivity.

The study, “Community and Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Michigan,” put the spotlight on five communities to gauge how the sport affects their bottom line.

Michigan’s second-largest city, Grand Rapids, benefited most from cycling. It earned $39.1 million, nearly double the $20.7 million Detroit brings in. Ann Arbor easily grabbed second place with a $25.4 million boost.

…Grand Rapids began adding bike lanes on city streets in 2010 and now has 55 miles of bike lanes with more planned. It has a cycle track, hundreds of bike racks and an extensive trail network in the suburbs, said Suzanne Schulz, Grand Rapids’ managing director of design, development and community engagement.

“We are really trying to take a more holistic view of transportation infrastructure for the entire community because a lot of people don’t have cars,” Schulz said.

Read on for more or dig into the full study from MDOT.

Bill took this shot on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. View it background bigtacular and see more in his Michigan: Kalamazoo County slideshow.

More bikes and bicycles and more fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Fall on the Ludington State Park Ridge Trail

Ludington State Park Ridge Trail

Ludington State Park, Ridge Trail, photo by otisourcat

If it seems to you that fall colors are more erratic this year than usual, it’s not all in your head! The Great Lakes Echo feature¬†by Juliana Moxley titled Last winter‚Äôs cold legacy: Fall colors slower to peak explains (in part) that last winter’s extreme cold is the culprit:

The harsh 2014 winter is partly to blame, said Bert Cregg, a professor in the department of horticulture at Michigan State University.

We are still having a good fall color season in Michigan, but we are likely to see some trees in full color while others are just beginning to turn, he said.

‚ÄúAs you‚Äôll recall, last winter was extremely cold ‚ÄĒ one of the coldest winters on record,‚ÄĚ Cregg said. ‚ÄúThe winter stress delayed leaf-out for many trees, and then the tree‚Äôs timing was further delayed by a cold rather than normal spring.‚ÄĚ

A warming climate can also affect fall color, said Howard Neufeld, a professor in the department of biology at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Higher temperatures, altered timing and/or amounts of precipitation, changes in humidity, changes in cloud cover, increases in the length of the growing season and higher levels of nitrogen inputs in the ecosystem can all affect fall color variance.

‚ÄúIncreased precipitation means that light levels are most likely lower, and trees will do less photosynthesis,‚ÄĚ Neufeld said. ‚ÄúWith less photosynthesis, there are fewer sugars in the leaves. Warmer temperatures mean higher respiration rates, and more sugars will be metabolized.‚ÄĚ

You can read on for lots more including an explanation of the scientific processes that impact color change.

The photo above by otisourcat shows that patchy color well. See it bigger and see more in their slideshow. More about the trail and park in the Ludington State Park guide.

More Michigan trails and more science on Michigan in Pictures!