Since we recently enjoyed the holiday season, I decided to push this post ahead of my three November excursions, plus I’m still mindful of that trio of treks to the Ford Estate, same which remain simmering on the back burner. Fingers crossed I’ll finally be posting about treks taken and written in real time once Spring arrives?!
This December 26th walk was a seize-the-day-because-it-is-the-calm-before-the-storm outing as we were slated for a wintry mix of precip to arrive mid-afternoon. We lacked a white Christmas – instead it was pouring raining. I felt rather smug as I had my walking goal locked in place, so I shut off the alarm clock and slept in Christmas morning – a rare treat for me.
But Boxing Day, (the day after Christmas for you non-Canucks), dawned bright and slightly over the freezing mark, so I decided to head out. The traffic reporter cautioned about freezing fog in the southern tier of counties, but I peered out the front door and it looked fine, so I headed out early.
I stopped at Council Point Park for a quick one-mile walk to feed the critters and discovered, just like a few weeks before, a mere mile from my home, freezing fog was glistening on the brittle and curled-up leaves and on the grass. I figured by the time I reached my next destination, it would be fine to walk (or so I thought).
I went gallivanting on Grosse Ile.
I hadn’t visited the Island since March 2020, just prior to when the pandemic lockdown began. That day I took an impromptu trip to look for those tiny singing frogs known as “Spring Peepers” and had no luck finding them, so I went to the alpaca farm to look at those cutie pies instead.
The Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge over the Trenton Channel (a/k/a “The Free Bridge”), was closed since May 2020 and just re-opened on December 3rd. Though it was targeted for re-opening in late 2020, structural problems, including deterioration to the underwater piers, delayed the opening an additional year. For those of you that don’t live in this area, there is a toll bridge available for residents and visitors, costing $5.00 round trip, but the lines were long to get on and off the Island the duration of the closure. In declaring the structure sound and stable once again, the engineers estimated the repairs added 20-30 years of life to this nearly century-old free bridge.
I mused that maybe I’d see a Canada Goose or two for Boxing Day.
I missed two Springtime gosling arrivals at Grosse Ile. The huge and stately homes along East River Road are near the Detroit River’s edge, separated only by that busy street. If you are lucky enough to find a place to park (public parking is a rarity here along the riverfront and trespassing is a big “no- no”), you will see multiple feathered friends, i.e. Mom and Pop Canada Goose guiding their goslings by waddling around homeowners’ lawns, strolling across the busy road, or maybe meandering near the water. So I drove by and found nothing to pique my interest for taking out the camera nor scaring up a parking spot. Next I headed to Horse Mill Road looking for deer – perhaps I’d see a couple of bucks crossing the road like last time. Not a deer to be found.
Two strikes on this excursion thus far, so I made my way back to Meridian Road and decided to visit this 153-acre Open Space woodsy area where I last was looking for Spring Peepers.
Parking is easy-peasy; across the street is the parking lot of Meridian Elementary School.
I parked and headed to the wooded area, took out the camera and proceeded to cross the wooden bridge, but quickly backed off after I slid, despite wearing lug-soled hiking boots – “nope, not gonna do that” I told myself. You can see the slick surface.
What what wasn’t slick or slightly frozen, appeared to be submerged in water.
In the adjacent wooded area, frost had settled onto fallen leaves, but a bigger threat, in my opinion, was that the mild temps meant ticks might be in the leaves and I wanted no hitchhikers. Scientists are already predicting another tick explosion for ALL of 2022, not just the warmer months. Sigh.
Well, that was a short trip! Annoyed, I crossed the road again, not really in the mood to return to the car, nor entertain the need to figure out another destination with impending bad weather. Just then a jogger ran down this path into a wooded area and was soon out of sight.
Good – I would investigate and this was somewhere new to me. I wandered along the path …
… which was nothing special and it appeared our recent heavy winds had taken down many trees, leaving the area looking a little like overgrown Pick-Up-Stix
I eventually turned back, discouraged by multiple muddy puddles which I didn’t want seeping into my boots. “It’s always something” I muttered to myself.
I decided the only good thing about this day was it was sunny enough to get a decent, long-shadow selfie like you see up top.
Well, that would do it – nothing more to see here. I went closer to the elementary school to take pictures of the words emblazoned on two park benches out front. I guess you’re never too young to know about these virtues; so will these pearls of wisdom remain with the students the rest of their lives? I momentarily thought of the impact the November 30th murderous rampage at Oxford High School by a fellow classmate had impacted the community and our state.
I pushed those sad thoughts aside once I saw a poster of this Dr. Seuss book title taped to a school window, so I took a photo of it and decided that would be my title for today’s post (hmm, better have a catchy title as this walk wasn’t going to create much fodder for photos or a narrative).
There was a “Little Free Library” and I chuckled to see that nestled between The Jungle Book and 101 Dalmations was a book on exercising, then next to that how to combat pain through food. I wondered aloud if it was the same donor – so the how-to book did not work so well?
As I was unlocking the car door, I noticed a Blue Jay and went to get a photo (yay – finally a critter for my post). He/she flew off, but I saw a wooded area which looked to be a neighborhood … well I was leery about driving to any other parks due to the predicted wintry mix, so why not explore a little?
So that is how I ended up at Hawthorn.
A different type of nature nook.
I didn’t really feel like I was trespassing, as I was walking, not driving and just enjoying the ambiance of this community.
I spent the next two hours walking along, pleased with this nature nook along Nathan Drive.
This was a winding road which took me through a condo and housing complex. I was impressed by the many picturesque ponds and best of all, no muddy feet or puddles to tromp through. In a Google search later that day, I discovered there were 300 homes and condos which were all situated off Nathan Drive.
A jogger passed by and gave me a wave and mouthed “good morning” as did a pair of dog walkers, thus I reckoned I didn’t look like an trespasser or intruder, but probably someone visiting for Christmas.
It smelled like Christmas trees here and you may not be able to tell, but resin was dripping from the pine cones. Having not had or smelled a real Christmas tree since I was a child, what a heady scent it was.
I was sure I’d see deer in the woodsy area, but nary a one.
Even in the usual barren and blah-looking Winter landscape, I thought the reflections of the trees on the ponds were beautiful. The Weeping Willows had retained some of their leaves – or maybe the warm weather earlier in the month triggered the unfurling of leaves?
In this pond, a thin veil of ice had formed on the surface after that incessant rain had stopped.
I saw (as well as heard) Canada Geese and grabbed a few shots.
There were some geese squabbling in the distance.
There were songbirds galore as I passed many bird feeders. By sound I identified Cardinals, Bluejays, Nuthatches and Chickadees, a delight to the ears as I walked through this massive Hawthorn complex. There weren’t many Christmas decorations, but this house looked festive with its berries, bulbs and bird feeders.
The only item that marred the mostly picturesque area was the intrusion of the twin, striped steam vent stacks of the DTE Trenton Channel Power Plant in the background. (Of course if you used your imagination you might imagine them as candy canes in this holiday season.)
I retraced my route and ended back at the car and sunk down into the seat. I checked the pedometer: 6.3 miles and even though I’d already made my mileage goal, I would add this for good measure. I snapped on the radio to hear the progress of the storm and learned the wintry mix had slowed down. No problem, I was going to head for home anyway. (Actually I returned home with plenty of time to spare, as the ugly weather didn’t happen until the wee hours of Monday morning and it was the first of two ice storms we’ve received in as many weeks.)
Later, inspired by the Dr. Seuss poster about reading, I plunked down on the couch, opened a book … then promptly nodded off. The book tumbled onto the rug and I fell into a dead sleep.
[Dr. Seuss quote from Pinterest]