Praying Mantis Attack

MantistwoI had a very strange thing happen to me recently. I have observed Praying Mantises many times out along the Trails. The other day I was walking along the edge of a small pond when a group of Grasshoppers where moving through. As a group, they hopped about 8 inches, and moved in unison, as a moving hoard. They where definitely on their way to somewhere as a group.

I stopped and crouched to pick one up and observed the Hoppers closely. From about 2 feet away, a Praying Mantis jumped onto my lower pant-leg and started walking up my leg, while it was waving it’s two hooked arms in a thrashing movement. It continued until I decided it was far enough up my leg, that it needed to be stopped. I took a stick and put it in front of him, and he attacked it viciously.

Now……I have watched a Mantis attack prey before. Usually in one, very quick movement, it would lurch forward and embrace the prey. But this one was acting like a Mini Tank with propeller blades on the front. Very strange behaviour!

I am not sure if I had interrupted it’s hunt on the herd of Grasshoppers moving through, or itMantis had Rabbis or something. 🙂 But this constant motion of it’s front arms, in a hacking motion was very weird.

I certainly did not want to anger this guy any further as he continued to crawl up my pant leg, so I finally flicked him off. He disappeared into the grass and that was it. Not quite sure what took place there, but I would say…..Never anger a Praying Mantis, especially one that appears to be hunting. 🙂

South Manitou Island Revisited

DockLightLast year, our Hiking North Central Michigan director, Mark Wilson, headed off to South Manitou Island for a few weeks of Volunteer Trails work. He spent an extended time on the Island repairing trails, signage and some of the historical building there. Read Marks first entries on his South Manitou Island visit.

This year a number of people who had seen Marks reports and the great MapTallClouds we had built from his exploits on the Island, planned a trip there. A couple of local Boy Scout Troops and our friend Kim, her son Dylan and family headed for the Island and sent us extensive pictures of their visit. In fact…..we have split up these pictures into groups to best display them here. The first batch from Kim and family are the basics of the Island. We will be posting the Flowers and Birds of South Manitou Island, following this first posting.

South Manitou Island is part of an island chain that extends north to the Straits of Mackinac. The island consists of a ridge of tilted layers of limestone, buried under a blanket of glacial debris. Glaciers carved out the Lake Michigan basin. When the basin filled with water, the peaks of the ridge remained exposed as islands. During post-glacial times, winds blowing on the high, sandy bluffs on the west side of the island moved sand inland, forming perched dunes. The dunes are a fragile environment. Please stay on existing paths and avoid stepping on plants.

Tucked away on the southwest corner of the island is a grove of virgin white cedar trees. One of the fallen trees showed 528 growth rings, dating its existence to before Columbus. A trip to South Manitou Island takes a little planning. The passenger ferry is operated by Manitou Island Transit (231-256-9061). You will want to call ahead for reservations and be sure to pack a lunch.

Get more info about the Island from the National Park Service web site here:  National Park Service web site.

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Thank You Kim Leedom for your FANTASTIC pictures of South Manitou Island!!!

S.ManitouIslandDownload the Map of South Manitou Island here:  S.MANITOU ISLAND MAP

 

MOM’s Best Friends

Volunteers are what make Michigan’s Natural world healthy and alive. We have the very best of people here in Michigan, who selflessly give of their time and money to help our beautiful state remain that way.

After some 15 years with Hiking Michigan and Hiking North/Central Michigan, I have met many people who have a special relationship with Mother Nature. It is not just their passion or Love for the Natural World, but it is also what MOM gives back to them in special ways.

A good example of this is Mark Wilson, director here at Hiking North/Central Michigan. Mark is up in Seney Wildlife Refuge for the summer working. You can take a look regularly on his Photo album of Seney experiences. MARK’S SENEY PHOTO ALBUM

mark-and-cameraMOM gives special things to Mark regularly. Yes……we all have those moments where we catch that critter doing something interesting, or that Bird swooping down for some food, or run across that patch of rare Flowers you seldom get a chance to see. When you take a look at Mark’s Photo albums of his outdoor experiences, you will see just what I mean. On a regular basis he captures unique and extra special outdoor activities that we all hope to run across ourselves.

Mark is of course, an experienced Outdoorsman and understands different techniques in Tracking and waiting on critters in the wild. He also has a special inquisitive nature that leads him to places where those special flowers grow. But it is much more then that. It happens to regularly for it to be just Mark’s experience. MOM is giving him special things too. I believe it is because of what he gives the Natural world in his work and help.

OK……this may sound a bit wild. But take a look at some of his Outdoor Photo albums and see if anyone you know has that kind of regular luck in finding critters, Birds and special environments as mark does.

MichiganWildlifeThere are others who get this kind of treatment from MOM too. Joshua Chrisman from MICHIGAN’S WILDLIFE just has a way of capturing so many different critters, plants, insects, on such a regular basis, that it goes beyond his experience or his personal luck. MOM likes him a bit extra. 🙂

There are many other people I know or have met through my years out in the Outdoors. These are just a couple of MOM’s favorites, I thought I would mention here. I could not possibly list everyones name here. But you know who you are. And so does MOM.

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

ParkSignThis past weekend, 6/8/13, a small group of us took and all day visit to a wonderful place. The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, near Saginaw, Michigan. A truly remarkable place!!!!!!!

The Refuge reminded me alot of Seney Wildlife Refuge in the Upper peninsula. Controlled flooding areas, Farm fields and so much quality habitat for so many different species.

Wading Birds and aquatic birds are the main focus here, but there is much, much more. Nesting Eagle and Osprey. Deer, Fox, Muskrats, Woodchucks and many, many different kinds of Snakes.

EagleChickWe seen literally field full of Great Egrets. Hundreds of them together. There where also many Great Blue Herons mixed amongst the Egrets, all feeding in the many shallow ponds and field floodings. Trees full of White Egrets. Again…..hundreds of them.

At times it was a sensory overload. There was just so much to see, experience and hear. We only covered the 6.5 mile Scenic Car drive road, along the southern section of the Refuge. Our next trip will include some of the well marked hiking trails that come off of these Scenic, One-way drives.

The Refuge is an enormous place. It would take many trips to the Park to even start to see some of it’s many and vast habitats.

Check out the official National Parks web site on the Refuge at: SHIAWASSEE WILDLIFE REFUGE

ParkOfficeThe Refuge has an excellent Visitors Center in the southern section of the Park. Very good Maps available there, and the Ranger is very well versed in what is happening in and around the refuge. No matter what your destination is at the Refuge, it is worth the stop at this  Visitors Center for all the Info and knowledge you can collect before you head into such a vast area.

FoxSnakeatYOUShiawassee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1953 and contains more than 9,600 acres of marsh, bottom-land hardwood forest, and grasslands. It was authorized by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act “…for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.” Additional purposes designated under the Refuge Recreation Act are “…incidental fish and wildlife-oriented recreational development, the protection of natural resources, and the conservation of endangered and threatened species.”

RoadsThe refuge’s mission is to preserve and manage an undeveloped expanse of floodplain forest, marshes, rivers, and associated habitat within an agricultural and urban landscape through habitat management, encouraging public stewardship, educational programs, and private land activities .

SENEY National Wildlife REFUGE

Seney-SignIn the center of the Upper Peninsula is Seney Wildlife Refuge. Nesting Eagles, Loons, Wolves and Birds of all types call the Refuge home. The Park is cut in half by the Manistique river. A wondrous trip down this river will give you access to some unbelievable wilderness and wildlife.

There is a Car Scenic road that circles a corner of the Refuge. Lots to experience just from this road alone. But take a HIKE into the deeper back-country and you will be astounded at the beauty and abundance of raw Nature.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. Seney National Wildlife Refuge is located in the east-central portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, halfway between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The 95,238 acre refuge encompasses the 25,150 acre Seney Wilderness Area, which contains the Strangmoor Bog National Natural Landmark.

CHECK OUT THE REFUGE WEB SITE HERE:

Here are a few pictures from last years trip to the Refuge:

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Have a Great Summer…..Mark

Mark-and-CameraThe director at Hiking North/Central Michigan, and the director of Parks & Recreation in his home town of Evart, Michigan, Mark Wilson, will be heading to Seney Wildlife Refuge for the summer. Cannot even imagine what he will learn and experience there over the next 3 months.

We are hoping Mark has some time to Post in on his experiences there at Seney. The Refuge is a very special place, and a Park that Everyone should visit at some point in their lives. It is one of those places that one visit just does not cover what is there to see.

MarkPaintingWe hope to continue what Mark has started at the Green Pine Lake Trails Restorations, while he is gone. removing the destructive Beaver there would go a long ways in continuing the process of restoring the entire Trails system there, and start on Trails signage and the rebuilding of the many Boardwalks and bridges in the Park.

But most of all……we all hope Mark has a very MarkFishinlearned time on his trip to Seney. The knowledge available there for his studies is just endless. And the possibilities of Photos beyond the norm is always present in this vast Refuge. We all hope you have a safe time there, Mark. And you share your new knowledge with all of us. The best of Luck to you, and the very best of enjoyable times to you as well. 🙂 See you when you return. I feel a BOOK coming in the near future. 🙂       Rob

City of CLARE recognizes Green Pine Lake Trails Restorations

In a wonderful newspaper article, the city of Clare, Michigan, recognized and complimented the efforts of all the Volunteers who came out to help Restore the Boy Scouts created Trails at Green Pine Lake. Ausable State Forest area. After many years of abandonment, the extensive Trails, Boardwalks, Bridges and Map posts had fallen into disrepair, making much of the area un-navicable.

TAKE A READ of the CLARE NewsPaper ARTICLE on the RESTORATION WORK

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THE CLARE CITY REVIEW NEWSPAPER LINK

Mark Wilson, our director here at Hiking North/Central Michigan, started this project with a number of GPS hikes to get an idea of just where the last of the Trails existed. He was assisted by a number of people, including Scout Master Jeff from Ortonville. This allowed a good Map to be created to start the ball rolling.

Mark got together with the Friends of Clare county and organized a Trails Restoration on Saturday, 4/21/13. The Groups who turned out worked very hard and some even stayed overnight at the Mud Lake Campground to continue the work the following day.

A big stop for the Group was a local Beaver who decided he needed to Dam up one of the creeks and flood out an entire section of the Trail. The DNR will be removing the Beaver so further work can continue, and the whole project can be finished up this summer. Look for the next weekend scheduled Trails Restorations coming soon. This one will be scheduled for the entire weekend, with free Camping supplied by the DNR at Mud Lake Campground nearby.

GET A COPY OF THE GREEN PINE LAKE AREA HERE.

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CAR Outdoor KIT

CARKitIf you are an Outdoors person of any sort, then having an Outdoors Car Kit is something you either have already or are contemplating. Every person who heads out to our Michigan Forests and Parks, in any season, should have a Car Kit of needed outdoor items.

To many times we jump into the car, with not alot of time, and rush on over to our favorite Hiking place. We get there and then realize we have forgotten something. It may not be a huge item we have forgotten, but it can be the difference between a quick fun Hike, Bird watching ventures or Mushroom hunt, and a bad time.

You forgot Insect repellent. Not a good thing. You did not bring any water with you. Not deadly, but the difference between an enjoyable time and one focused on thirst. All these little things can make a big difference in our Outdoor experiences.

Hikingstuff

Packing a set of items for every season, and keeping them in the Car at all times, eliminates so many small problems that can turn into big ones. These essentials for almost any Outdoors venture, should be stored in the car, in a waterproof container. Keeping moisture and severe temperature changes, away from your Car Outdoor KIT, will allow these items to last indefinitely for you. You may not even use them over a year period. BUT……they are always there for those times you have forgotten something. Or your Outdoors partner has forgotten something.

When your Hiking buddy is having a bad time….YOU most likely will be 602574_10151964412180298_1455404885_nexperiencing some of that pain as well. So being prepared is a good thing, all the way around.

Take a look at the List we have created here. They are the essentials. BUT…..there are of course, your personal needs of things that YOU require to have the best, safe and funnest time in the Outdoors. I cannot tell you how important something so simple like this stashed Car Outdoors KIT can be. That very first time you use something from your hidden Car KIT, will pay for the time it took for you to put it together. I do not think that any will disagree with the fact that on many trips out to the Parks, we forget something. And it usually is that item that has the most effect on our relaxing and enjoyment of the Outdoors.

You can download the CAR OUTDOORS KIT here. You may also be interested in a set of sheets we put together last year on CAR CAMPING NEEDS. It is similar in the same way as the CAR OUTDOORS KIT has all those things you need to not get caught without something. The CAR CAMPING sheets do the same thing. We list out the basic needs for a CAR Camping weekend and those things that are a must for a quality time camping from your Car. You will notice that some of the items for the Car Camping lists are the same as what is on the Car Outdoors KIT. It is OK to have two of anything while Camping. So do not be concerned about repeats.

0_foodandedibles_suckers_-_candy_-_pops_tootsie_-_pop_lgIf you want to reward yourself for packing properly and BEING PREPARED, you can add these to your Car Outdoor KIT. They last forever in a sealed plastic bag. 🙂

North Country Trail events

Greetings HSS Friends and Members,

Upcoming Events:

May 11th–Soldier Lake Hike
May 16th–HSS Meeting–Rudyard–Pizza and Hiking tales!
June 1st–Hike Between the Falls on the NCT—-Tahquamenon Falls State Park
June 8th–USFS–Great Outdoors Day– the NCT in the Hiawatha National Forest
June 20th–HSS Meeting–Rudyard–Pizza, Hiking Tales, and Presentation
June 22nd–Pig Roast at the USFS office–Explore the new trails!
Do check Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Facebook Page!  Do Like, Comment, and Share!
Soldier Lake Hike–May 11th
Ramble north on the North Country National Scenic Trail–Exercise–Mental Break–Enjoy the great Northwoods!
Saturday May 11th 10:00 AM at the Soldier Lake Trail Crossing H-40 (west of the Campground gate)
Bring family, friends,water and a camera–Wear sturdy foot gear–Insect repellent–as a precaution
Snack provided by HSS Goodie Bucket
Contact Stan or Kay kay1940@lighthouse.net or 989-350-2826
For a map see Map 2 of our brochure at www.NorthCountryTrail.org/hss
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HSS Meeting and Pizza Buffet–May 16th
6:30 PM at Pure Country in Rudyard
Join your hiking pals, enjoy pizza, and share some hiking tales.  Discover where to hike on the NCT!
Stan or Kay at 989-350-2826 or kay1940@lighthouse.net
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“Hike Tween Da Falls” June 1st
Lower Falls Parking Area–Tahquamenon Falls State Park–Shuttles to Upper Falls from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
 Tramp the banks of the Tahquamenon River from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls, Displays, Children’s Activities
Sturdy foot gear and water a must!  Moderate Hiking–stairs and rustic tread
Wrap your day with lunch or dinner at the Tahquamenon Pub and Brewery!
Contact: Stan or Kay at 989-350–2816 or kay1940@lighthouse.net
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Watch for more hiking and volunteer news in the near future.

Green Pine LK.Restorations Reviewed

GroupAnother job well done Gang. It’s great when people can get together and save something worth saving. Those Trails out at Green Pine Lake are worth saving. The Scouts thought it was worth their time in constructing all those bridges and Boardwalks, many years ago. It is worth making sure they stay around as long as possible. Even if the local Beaver has other ideas.

Mark sent me a short review of the weekend, so here we go……..

Map

All:    Just a quick update on the trail restoration day.

First of all, thank you to all involved for all the support.

 After some great coffee and rolls provided by the Clare County Friends group, and a quick safety briefing Saturday morning we headed out on the trail with 16 people. We split into two groups and headed in different directions on the loops with plans to meet up at Green Pine Lake for lunch.  We had beautiful and comfortable weather, and more importantly we had no injuries. The two groups got back together at Green Pine Lake for lunch, shared the mornings progress and planed the afternoons activities. It was nice to see a Loon on Green Pine Lake during lunch and apparently the group that took the west leg of the loop saw a coyote up close and personal.  On the large loop we found that the beavers have been very active this spring and have completely closed a section of the large loop. I had one party from Hiking Michigan that stayed at the Mud Lake Campground they wanted to work today as well, so my daughter and I joined them to work on the Mud Lake connector trail today.

Please note all the work that was accomplished over the last 3 days.

·         The small loop off the M-115 parking lot is re-blazed and all of the brushy areas have been cleared.

·         The large loop excluding small section in the beaver dam area has been re-blazed. (Thank you to Rich and Chris from the DNR for marking a good portion of the large loop last fall.)

·         Several areas that were significantly overgrown on the large loop have also been cleared.

·         The small nature trail loop at Mud Lake has been cleared and re-blazed.

·         The connector trail to Mud Lake is re-blazed except for a small section that is near the intersection of Cook and Adams roads. (I’ll plan on taking care of that when I get more paint)  

It was nice to meet a group of hikers on the connector trail today as I was out burning up the last couple cans of paint.

I have asked the Hiking Michigan folks to post all their photos here. https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.401732259924911.1073741827.149820138449459&type=1

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To keep places like Green Pine Lake, a place that many people will be able to enjoy for many years to come, it takes constant work and attention. Than You Rosie, Larry, Peggy, Lani, Kim, Hal, Jane, Rich, Chris, Mark, Dylan and all the others I missed here. (Mark will fill in those names later) (We are not big on full last names in the various Trails & Volunteer work we do here at Hiking Michigan) THE PROJECT IS THE REWARD!                                 Rob – HIKING MICHIGAN  

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Here are some items that we need to consider for the next project weekend. 

·         Address the Beaver Dam issue on the large loop

·         Replace broken boards and railings on bridges and boardwalks

·         There was some logging done within the last year that has affected the Mud Lake connector trail in a couple areas that need some significant clean up done. (The trail is however still well marked and usable at this time.)

·         Get the wooden signs back up at the trailheads and intersections.

·         Explore adding one more bridge over a small stream on the Mud Lake connector trail

I think the trail has a lot of potential for summer use this coming summer. The small loop off M-115 offers a nice little day hike that is now well defined. The short Nature Trail loop at Mud Lake offers the same. For people looking for a bigger challenge, to hike from the lot on 115 to Mud Lake via the east leg of the large loop and the Mud Lake connector would be a very challenging hike, but one that can be done now on a well marked trail.  I’m personally very satisfied with the accomplishments of this weekend.

Thanks again to all!

Happy Trails,

Mark Wilson

HIKING MICHIGAN

North/Central Branch

8175 23 Mile Road

Evart MI 49631

mark@hikingmichigan.com

Cell: 231-250-2071

“OUTDOORS FOR EVERYONE”

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THANK YOU AGAIN……to all you hard workers who donated your time and money to make this first Trails Restoration at Green Pine Lake happen. I have said this hundreds of time before…..Michigan has the very best Volunteers ANYWHERE. They give so much for ALL the people of our beautiful state!

Thanks for all the pictures too. 🙂 I collected them from all over Facebook and the NET and put as many as I could find, right here in the Slideshow. Very Cool to see what all of you did and accomplished.