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

Bear Creek Nature Park: Hike, Explore, Play, Refresh

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The wind will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” Those words of John Muir fit my exploration of Bear Creek Nature Park last Friday afternoon. The temperature hovered just above the single digits, strong winds rustled dry oak leaves, and long-missing brilliant sunshine made snow sparkle.

Bear Creek is a publicly accessible 107-acre park that has been managed by the Parks and Recreation Commission of the Charter Township of Oakland since 1977. Parking permits are not required. There are no bears at Bear Creek, and Bear Creek is not a wilderness by any means, but the landscape has a rich history of farming and cattle grazing going back to European settlement in 1827. Continue reading

Hiking Makes You Happier: Let Your 2017 Trail Adventures Begin!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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Winter weather may appear frightful, but a hike with good friends is nothing short of delightful. Hiking is good for you too and offers more than the sights, sounds and scents of nature. It’s an easy and effective cardio workout that lowers blood pressure, blood sugar levels, reduces risk of heart disease, strengthens muscles, helps control weight and boosts your mood. It’s also a great way to make new friends. “Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, former president of the American Hiking Society, “Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that.” Perhaps 2017 is the year to remember that we humans were born to hike. Continue reading

Rose Oaks on the Dawn of December

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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“Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and places to pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir
Rose Oaks County Park is that kind of place.

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An early morning walk through this 640 acre protected wildland in the northwest corner of Oakland County at the dawn of December offers rich rewards, reaching beyond the obvious benefits of healthy hiking and fresh air. Solitude, natural beauty, and a chance to embrace silence without distractions are three of them. The radiant glow of morning sunlight on trees enriches forest stillness, and warms the human spirit.

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