Bridging the Trails Gap: Van Tassel Pedestrian Bridge

Steel bridge over wide creek in winter

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Michigan is the #1 Trail State in the nation with 2,623 miles of rail-trail conversions and thousands of miles of other linear multi-use pathways. The word “rail-trail” is coming into more common usage and is defined by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy this way:

“Rail-trails are multipurpose public paths created from former railroad corridors. These paths are flat or gently sloping, making them easily accessible and a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Rail-trails are ideal for many types of activities–depending on the rules established by the local community–including walking, bicycling, wheelchair use, inline skating, cross-country skiing and horseback riding.”

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Adventuring Up North at Stony Creek!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

A dusting of Halloween night snow whitened the hills of northern Oakland County, confirming the duel between autumn and winter has accelerated. In anticipation of that forecasted seasonal change, I accepted the invitation of two outdoor adventuring ICU nurses that are avid hikers to join them for an “up north feeling” trek at Stony Creek Metropark, one of 13 parks in Southeast Michigan managed by Huron-Clinton Metroparks. Our destination for the last hike of October was the southwest corner of Stony Creek, the section that is located entirely within Oakland County and has thirteen miles of hilly trails dedicated to mountain bikers, hikers, and perhaps in a few more weeks, if Mother Nature is willing, and it looks that way, cross-country skiers. Continue reading

Gallagher Creek Park – A First Look

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

A skittish doe and her tiny fawn, a pair of killdeer, yellow-throated warblers, over a dozen robins, various vireos I could not identify, a northern oriole, a “chilly-appearing’” leopard frog, territory proclaiming red-winged blackbirds, a whole lot of crayfish and at least two human families could not wait for the upcoming grand opening of 15-acre Gallagher Creek Park next Thursday afternoon. Neither could I. And so last Saturday morning, under a clear blue sky that rapidly turned gray, I set out to explore this small creek-side, wetland embracing park that is located on the north side of Silverbell Road immediately east of Adams Road within one of the more densely populated areas of Oakland Township. Continue reading

 Polar Vortex Exploration at Draper Twin Lake Park

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” That memorable quote of Thoreau applied perfectly late last Thursday afternoon as I set out to explore Draper Twin Lake Park during the Polar Vortex. The temperature hovered at zero degrees. I resigned myself to the influence of the earth and with situational awareness in mind, and a brave nature-loving friend in tow, it was time for my first nature exploration winter hike at Draper. Continue reading