Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere!

pumpkin patch up close

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Halloween is just around the corner and one very recognizable sign of the season is everywhere. Pumpkins are transforming into an incredible array of spooky jack-o-lanterns that perch patiently on porches, waiting to delight masked goblins, witches, and superheroes. Others wait to be chosen from roadside stands, and hundreds more, of every conceivable size, are for sale at the Oakland County Farmers Market. Grocery store displays of pumpkins are placed strategically near the door to draw attention, almost as if they are pleading, “Pick me! Pick me!”

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Raccoons: Masked Bandits of Oakland County

raccoon in tree branch

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

October brings falling leaves, ripening pumpkins, and roving raccoons. Raccoons are among the most widespread mammals of Michigan, and have adapted extremely well to life in Oakland County. These clever creatures can be found everywhere, from our farmlands and wildlands, to the city streets and suburbs of Rochester, Southfield, and Pontiac. Although raccoons are chiefly nocturnal, it’s not at all unusual to see one at dusk or in the dawn’s early light, as they prepare for winter’s approach by putting on pounds and searching for denning sites.

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October Snake Tales

snake with tongue out

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“The wild requires that we learn the terrain, nod to all the plants and animals and birds, ford the streams and cross the ridges, and tell a good story when we get back home.” That is perhaps my favorite quote from Gary Snyder in his celebration of the ways of nature in The Practice of the Wild (Snyder, 1990).

I have friends who revel in Snyder’s words. They share stories of wildlife encounters with excitement and joy. However, when it comes to sharing encounters with snakes, sometimes their words and phrases confirm their extreme anxieties and near-phobic horrors of even seeing a snake. These colorful days of October remind us of winter’s approach. That means, it’s time to share snake facts with a disclaimer: although I am not a herpetologist by any means, I am an unabashed partisan of these slithering creatures that often take center stage for a few weeks during the season of leaf fall. Perhaps you are too.

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Fall Foliage Adventuring

fall foliage

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Oakland County woodlands, meadows, and lakes are attractive throughout the year, but take on a special aura of beauty in autumn. As shades of summer green surrender to the fiery scarlet of sassafras, glittering yellows of aspens, the reddish-orange hues of maples, and finally, the misty pale yellow of swamp-loving tamaracks, our changing patchwork of kaleidoscope-like colors against a sky of blue can almost overwhelm the human eye. If that’s not enough to lure a nature lover to our hundreds of miles of trails and thousands of acres of parks and wildlands, fantastic fruiting fungi in a rainbow of colors is also emerging along our trails.

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Autumn Beauty on an Oakland County Trail

A cement path winds down through a heavily wooded area. Foliage is turning from green to shades of yellow and orange. A deer stands near a tree and is almost hidden as its color blends in with the foliage around it.

As the leaves transition to shades of red, orange, and yellow, and the air gains a crisp autumn edge, there is no better time to venture along one of Oakland County’s many scenic trails. To find the best place to take a walk in nature, check out our list by clicking on the button below:

List of Nature Trails in Oakland County

You can also check out the Oakland County Trail Viewer, an interactive map developed by Oakland County’s award-winning GIS team. Each trail is marked using brown lines, while green icons represent parks. When a trail is selected, the map allows you to reference both its length and elevation. When users click on a park icon, its name, size, website, and other helpful information will appear.

From the paved paths at Groveland Oaks in Holly to the expansive trails at Waterford Oaks, you are sure to find the perfect nature trail for you using our list and interactive map.

Do you have a favorite trail in the Oakland County area? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter, by contacting us at socialmedia@oakgov.com, or leaving a comment below.


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