… if the shoe, er … fins fit, why not go for it?
Well, actually the concept of hiking this weekend might be better said than done.
It was a dark and stormy night …
We’ve had a wicked week of weather here in my part of Michigan, especially, Wayne County, which got hit hard by torrential rain April 30th into May 1st. The rain fell fast and furiously, bringing a total of 3½ inches of rain in a seven-hour period. Our Governor declared a State of Emergency for Wayne County, after 3,000 homes and businesses were affected by both the rain and water damage from local rivers and streams. In my city alone, 400 people ended up with flooded basements and structural damage to their homes and three houses were declared uninhabitable. Our flooding woes made the national news, after 14 feet of water submerged a portion of a major expressway. As the water began to recede, it was not just debris discovered in the funky sewer water, but five vehicles flipped over on their side were uncovered as well – luckily they were empty.
The sun’s been on strike!
Thankfully today was dry – unbelievably, we had rain for nine days in a row! I was skimming through news on Twitter before I began this post, and a local TV anchor quipped: “Tomorrow it’s sunny from the beginning to the end of the day. Plan accordingly. I’m giddy.”
I am grateful that Mother Nature finally turned off the tap, but I was mindful that 5 ½ inches of rain in the course of one week meant this gal was not doing any hiking anytime soon, unless I felt like sloshing through water in all my favorite venues. You saw how it looked last Sunday when I tried out a new park with no paved walking path. Not so great, unless you’re a duck. Thus, a trip to Elizabeth Park, Bishop Park or Dingell Park would not happen, as they all run parallel to the Detroit River, which, after the storm, surpassed the seawall, spilling water onto the respective boardwalks. The photos on Facebook were amazing. Heritage Park was going to be my go-to spot today, but pictures of this park showed it waterlogged with ponds all over the walking paths as well. It was such a sloppy mess that they cancelled today’s annual Clean-up-the-Park Day.
This “new norm” for constant rainy weather already caused me to invest in waterproof shoes and now rubber boots as well. Both are not christened yet, but that’s okay too. At the rate we’re going, they are sure to be well used. This season is just as soggy as the Spring of 2018.
So, this morning I headed to my old standby, Council Point Park, to visit with my peanut pals who no doubt missed me as I didn’t venture past the neighborhood the last two days. I was able to walk, luckily just after the drizzle stopped, but the sky was such an ominous shade of dark gray, I decided not to stray too far from the ‘hood. Wednesday I never left the house due to the storm.
It was more like the first week in April, than May.
It may have been dry, but it was cold, not even chilly! It was just 42 degrees with a stiff north wind blowing. While I am ready to ditch the Winter coat, hat and gloves, I decided to be comfy and just wear them. As I walked down to Council Point Park, I was glad I was in my woolens and Winter coat. Just a handful of walkers were on the perimeter path and similarly attired – hey, it gets very windy down there in the open spaces!.
Actually, there were more squirrels than people, and, as soon as I got on the trail, the boys, a/k/a my furry little pals, appreciated my presence and came running over. I took a couple of cookies for Parker as a special treat for the second time around when I would pull out the camera.
Parker decided since he had sweets AND peanuts, it was wise to take a few peanuts to go, so off he went to bury some of his stash. So did he forget about last year’s cache of nuts or does he think it feels like Fall, therefore Winter is on the way? For sure that frozen ground that lingered through April made it impossible, even with his sharp claws, to retrieve those peanuts.
Spring continues to load slowly at this venue. Unbelievably many of the leaves have still not unfurled completely and I was dismayed to see how many trees don’t even have buds. I don’t think they are late bloomers – I believe they died after this very frigid Winter.
Mr. Sun – Where forth art thou?
I travelled sans umbrella as I wanted to get some shots of the Park, and the umbrella dangling from a strap off my wrist just gets in the way. Besides, the weather folks, (if they are to be believed), said no rain today after all.
However, I was ready to go out on a limb …
… and declare there would be no sun today.
The clouds were deep gray and so low slung, it appeared if you scrambled up a tree to reach the highest branch …
… you’d likely be able to pull one of those ugly-looking clouds down.
Where are the young ‘uns?
I decided to trek one entire loop around to feed my pals, then pay special attention for goslings toddling around. Before I left the house, I looked back in my blog for the first week of May last year to see when the goslings appeared. It was this very week. I generally have a few shots of them to use around Mother’s Day. But I saw no goslings at the Park today.
Speaking of offspring, the blue birdhouse, which was move-in ready a month ago, is still vacant. I peered into the dark hole but saw no sign of life inside.
Likewise, I checked low-hanging branches for any nest-building efforts by Robins, so I can begin to monitor eggs-to-hatchlings-to-fledglings just like last year, but not a single nest was found. It seems that everything associated with Spring is in slo-mo this year.
I caught a glimpse of a Black-Crowned Night Heron across the Creek. He was hunkered down, head and neck scrunched into his body. I wouldn’t have noticed him nestled in the trees, except he made a loud grunting noise to no one in particular and it startled me. He flew off before I could get a photo.
Fellow walker Mike came along just then and I mentioned the heron. We saw this type of bird several times last Summer. Mike said he’s seen the Great Blue Heron on the cement landing with a few offspring. I am truly sorry I missed that sight – hopefully when I return tomorrow the small family is there.
Finally, the sun put in an appearance.
At last, a pale yellow orb peeked out behind one of the clouds.
A couple of sleepy Mallards lazed on the grass near the storm drain. I didn’t take their picture as it was obvious the water had risen above the storm drain as the cement landing was covered with mud and debris and that would have showed up in the shot.
A Red-Winged Blackbird and a Cardinal both swooped down to swipe peanuts from the squirrels, as I stopped to feed them. The Cardinal was content to go back to its tree and await another opportunity to snatch a peanut … or two.
A Canada Goose had the catch-of-the-day and was finagling a way to slurp down that flailing fish.
I suggested he watch the Robins who have no trouble swallowing wiggling worms whole, though last year I captured some images of a Mama Robin slicing and dicing up a big worm on the perimeter path to take to her youngsters.
As for ambiance in the Park, well the squirrels were their usual fun-loving furry selves, but the landscape remains Winter weary and drab. Surprisingly I saw not a single dandelion, despite them peppering the lawns of most homes right now. When I looked back at posts from this time last year, the trees were leafed out, a few wildflowers were blooming and it was a sea of dandelions on the Park grounds. I do believe Mother Nature needs an attitude adjustment!
[Header image of “Hike Like A Girl Weekend” from Twitter]