A Tale of Two Trail Systems: Cross-Country Skiing Adventures

The Wilder Side of Oakland County

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Cross-country skiing is perhaps one of the very best ways to embrace the wild and wonderful side of winter, especially with the abundant trails in Oakland County. Nordic skiing is not only great fun and easy to get the knack of, but this low-impact, nature-embracing, sport also relieves stress, increases endorphins and brightens moods. It’s a rare sight to encounter a cross-country skier scowling or frowning. Even after a spill, a smile quickly reappears, especially when enjoying the sport with friends. More likely than not, a cross-country ski adventure will leave you with a feeling of exhilaration and a darn good story to share. However, it is hard to partake in this calorie-burning, smile-inducing workout for all ages and fitness levels when Oakland County snow remains sadly lacking, and that is where this tale of two trail systems kicks off. Continue reading

Winter Survival of the White-Tailed Deer

The Wilder Side of Oakland County

A doe climbing Empire Bluff.

White-tailed deer, the largest wild mammal in Oakland County, are well adapted to life in the cold. They thrive in parklands, wildlands and suburban areas. Deer populations have endured harsh winters, ice storms and blizzards for thousands of years. The key to their survival is energy conservation and behavioral adaptations. White-tails of the “north country,” including Michigan, are significantly larger than their kin in the southern states. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife states,

Northern deer have larger body size than deer further south. This is true of all mammals, in that body size increases as we progress northward. Large body size conserves energy better because of a lower surface to mass ratio.

An adult white-tailed buck from the north may reach 300 pounds , while an adult buck from Florida weighs about 125 pounds.

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