More Than A Walk In The Woods: Graham Lakes Trail

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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Bald Mountain State Recreation Area is a 4,637-acre multi-use wildland managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR describes the landscape accurately with their frequently used sentence of, “The Park contains some of the steepest hills and most rugged terrain in southeast Michigan and features fifteen miles of marked hiking trails.” I knew that. I thought I knew all of the Bald Mountain State Recreation Area trails very well. I did not. Somehow, in all my many adventures at Bald Mountain, I missed four miles of forested trail that circles West Graham Lake, East Graham Lake, and hidden vernal ponds. As John Muir wrote, and I have shared before, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Once again his words were accurate, and they will be for you as well, if you walk slowly, stop often, look and listen. Continue reading

Bald Mountain State Recreation Area: A Proving Ground For Lungs And Legs

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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Bald Mountain Recreation Area has some of the steepest hills and most rugged terrain in southeastern Michigan.” The Michigan Department of Natural Resources uses that sentence to describe the 4,637 acre multi-use wildland gem they manage in northeastern Oakland County. Bald Mountain is split into three large parcels, and without question it is a four-season “walk on the wilder side” that attracts avid hikers, mountain bikers, birders, solitude seekers, and before very long, cross-country skiers that don’t mind navigating around glacial boulders deposited during the last ice age. The terrain has rapid elevation changes and can be challenging for hikers who are usually accustomed to level or crushed gravel terrain.

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Bullfrogs and Green Frogs: Ambush Hunters of the Wetlands

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

IMG_3138The American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) is the largest frog species of Oakland County, or for that matter anywhere in North America. Some specimens weigh over a pound and may be 10 inches long. They are a meaty mouthful for many predators and a slippery handful for a naturalist. Several years ago I encountered a Goliath of a bullfrog along the West Bloomfield Trail, a beauty of a beast, blocked from its wetland by construction screening. After a quick photo shoot, I carried him to freedom and have been a fan of these beauties ever since.

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