Winter Solstice Wonders


The arrival of astronomical winter, the Winter Solstice that occurred on Saturday, December 21st at 11:19 p.m. EST, reminded me that the phrase, “the dead of winter” is an oxymoron. Winter is never dead, a fact that comes to life with excitement for those that make an effort to enjoy the wilder side of our county during the days of diminished daylight, days when even those that do not arise early can watch spectacular sunrises at 8 a.m. Winter brings treasures of nature to be discovered, from sparkling ice under clear blue skies to eastern bluebirds fluffed up against biting winds, and of course the deep soft hoot of Great Horned Owls, sometimes accompanied by the yips and howls of our “song dogs,” the eastern coyotes that have colonized our county.

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Seven Lakes State Park: A Pre-Solstice Wintery Adventure


The arrival of the winter solstice opens the way for a new season of embracing the ways of nature on the trails and in the parks that add to the quality of life of Oakland County. The nature that surrounds us becomes even more amazing – we’ve got enticing trails, drifting snow, frozen streams, babbling brooks, crackling ice, whispering winds, and of course, tracks in the snow that help unravel the mysteries of wild creatures living in our midst. If a destination is chosen with forethought, there’s the added benefit of enjoying soothing solitude for hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the wilder side of Oakland County. That was my plan last Friday. Continue reading

Winter Solstice: The Gateway to Winter Adventure in Oakland County Parks


Winter officially began at 23:03 Universal Time on December 21. That moment marked the point at which the least amount of sunlight fell across the northern half of the globe. The earliest humans on earth may not have chatted around a campfire about the winter solstice, but they managed to grasp the fact that the sun’s path across the sky, the length of daylight and the locations of sunrises and sunsets all shifted in detectable patterns. Stonehenge is one such testament to the event. Winter, in all likelihood, was a time of great challenge, when many struggled just to survive. Today we have Facebook and Twitter to mark the solstice and here in Oakland County, we have 13 parks that take on a special beauty during the slowly lengthening days of winter. Addison Oaks County Park, Independence Oaks County Park and rural Rose Oaks County Park are three of our hilly and glacially sculpted parks that are rich in winter trails and wild land adventures on the wilder side of Oakland County. Continue reading