Chaotic Harmony on the Dawn of a New Year

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The wilds of nature on a frigid sunny day can be a magical place. Red squirrels leap from low branches and tunnel under snow. Red-tailed hawks perch on tree limbs above frozen marshes, perhaps waiting for the tempting movement of rabbits. Rivers flow and shoreline ice sparkles and crackles. That was nature’s welcome to me on the first day of the New Year. I breathed deeply from the evergreen scented air and headed for a large stand of towering red pine trees that were planted in neat orderly rows during the Great Depression. The pines created an image very much unlike what one expects in wild nature; yet to the naturalist spirit within me, they beckoned to be explored. Continue reading

Huron Swamp: The Greatest Treasure of Indian Springs

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life.” – Charles Darwin.

The Huron Swamp slowly awakened in the dawn’s early light. An unseen Barred Owl hooted as the sky lightened. Although these swamp-loving owls with “soulful brown eyes” wing silently between the swamp’s white oaks, red maples, and tamaracks, their distinctive melody of “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” confirmed their presence. Ten minutes passed. A sudden splash in the shallows was the signature of a raccoon, or perhaps a mink. Fresh muddy tracks on the wooden boardwalk told me it could have been either. Suddenly a Pileated Woodpecker’s resonating wuk-wuk-wuk alarm call indicated an intruder. Perhaps it was me. But my intrusion was in search of swamp magic.

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Paddling the Huron River Water Trail

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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Oakland County has over 1,400 natural lakes, and headwaters of five major rivers: the Clinton, Flint, Huron, Rouge and Shiawassee Rivers. This is the story of a very small section of the 104 mile Huron River Water Trail, a beautiful river that rises from the Huron Swamp at Indian Springs Metropark. It then flows southwest through Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area, downtown Milford and Kensington Metropark before entering Livingston County and the Island Lake State Recreation Area. The river’s journey ends at Lake Erie. Continue reading