See the Best of Fall on an Oakland County Trail

As the leaves transition from shades of green to amber and crimson, and the air takes on the crisp edge of autumn, there is no better time to venture along one of Oakland County’s many scenic trails.

Wilder Side | Walk Slowly, Stop Often, and Listen

Navigate your next trail adventure with the help of the Oakland County Trail Viewer: an interactive map developed by Oakland County’s award-winning GIS team. Each trail is marked by 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 green park icon, its name, size, website, and other helpful information appear.

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October Splendor, Adventure, Awareness and Safety

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The splendor of October swept into Oakland County on schedule with traces of frost on the first day of the month. Hours of daylight are shortening, but opportunities for trailside adventure and colorful kayaking adventures are increasing. It’s a month of cider-making, corn mazes and pumpkin hunting. October is the time to watch geese high overhead, listen to trumpeting of Sandhill Cranes, and celebrate Eastern Bluebirds beneath a clear blue sky. Set out an autumn bird bath, and it just may lure these beautiful birds, and a House Finch or two, as quickly as late season wildflowers lure honey bees. The days of October are in a word, glorious for all that love nature’s way and the hundreds of miles of trails that enrich our county and increase accessibility to our woodlands, wildlands and parks. Continue reading

Secrets of the Lakeshore Trail

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The Lakeshore Trail of Holly State Recreation Area does not qualify as the “path less travelled,” or as wilderness, but if you wish to explore a small slice of the wilder side of Oakland County in the closing weeks of summer, this two-and-a-half mile natural surface loop trail will not disappoint. You need not be a tree-hugging naturalist to enjoy the natural beauty and secrets of the trail, which embraces the shoreline of Wildwood and Valley Lakes, but a spirit of adventure—and a bit of sure-footedness—will help. The State Recreation Area, though located in Oakland County, is managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and a Recreation Passport sticker is required for vehicular entry.

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Independence North: The Northern Jewel Of Independence Oaks County Park

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

My early morning hike of solitude on a sultry summer day at Independence Oaks County Park – North was a near magical experience. Wispy cirrus clouds added definition to the clear blue sky. Spider webs sparkled with diamonds of dew. Sandhill cranes trumpeted from a wet meadow. An American Goldfinch and an Eastern Kingbird perched in treetops to bask in sunlight, as did a Red-tailed Hawk high up on a transmission line tower. The music of crickets and the rustle of aspen leaves in the morning’s gentle breeze softened the rumble of traffic on nearby Sashabaw Road. That all happened in the first ten minutes last Sunday morning. The next ten minutes were well-spent grazing on juicy blackberries, suffering some significant scratches in the process. A sudden faint buzzing sound near the base of the shrubs made me wonder if there was a hidden cicada down low. Or perhaps, just perhaps, an Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake thought I was too close. The blackberry thicket would be a good place for a rattler to ambush a mouse. So I hiked on, that mystery unsolved. Continue reading

Eastern Bluebirds On the Dawn of Summer

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

With its brilliant royal blue back, and rusty-red brown breast there is no mistaking a male Eastern Bluebird. They are heralded as one of the first Oakland County birds of spring. Naturalists and writers have long associated the arrival of bluebirds with spring. On March 2, 1859, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The bluebird comes and with his warble drills the ice and sets free the rivers and ponds and frozen grounds.” It is now the 23rd day of June in 2017 and the heat of the summer has already arrived. Bluebirds keep warbling, not to melt ice, but to announce round two of their nesting season. The fact of the matter is clear, many of our bluebirds did not migrate and ate old berries and fruits all winter, with occasional visits to suet feeders.

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