A Riverside Nature Ramble in Rochester Hills

A river cuts through the land. One side is grassy and tall trees run along the far side. The sky is blue with white puffy clouds.


The Ice Age was coming to an end. Shuffling its 8-ton frame, a shaggy mastodon crossed a steep moraine and lumbered down to the edge of a bend in the icy rock-strewn river. That mighty herbivore, soon to be extinct, browsed on perhaps forty or fifty pounds of riverside shrubs and then wandered into the darkness of a changing world, along what is now the Riverside Trail.

A grassy area with tall trees on an autumn day. The foliage is changing from green to yellow, orange, and red. A bit of light blue sky and white clouds shows through the trees.

Fast forward to the last week of October 2018. Autumn in Oakland County had reached its full glory, and I was setting out on the Riverside Trail that’s part of the Avon Nature Study Area in the City of Rochester Hills. Within minutes of my arrival, I noted fresh raccoon tracks in mud, a flash of silvery movement in a bend of the Clinton River and evidence of beaver activity. The river sparkled under a clear blue sky. It was a great day. Perhaps consider replicating my journey for a quick immersion into nature’s way before the snows and strong winds of November arrive. Continue reading

Glacial Erratics: Landscape Boulders or Something More?



As the leaf fall of November accelerates and leaves bare their hiding places between the trees, rock forms from the north are being spotted along the back country trails of Oakland County. These rock forms have actually been existing quietly among us for a long, long time. I encountered my first one when I was about five years old in rural Connecticut. During the warm months I would climb up and sit on the massive formation. In the winter I would hike with my two sisters to pay homage to my glacial erratic. It was fondly called, “the boulder” by my sisters, but I knew better. Glacial erratic was most likely the first science related word combination I heard, learned, and finally understood thanks to my dad who fueled my passion for all things wild.

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