Leaves were falling, temps were falling, but …

… no raindrops or snowflakes were falling, so happily I set out to glean some steps, amass a ton of photos and simply enjoy myself. It was a perfect Autumn day and I aimed to make the most of it. I knew the beautiful leaves were slightly past their peak and mild weather was on the wane. There was talk of the “s” word and snowflakes a’flyin’ in the coming week.

At the end of that day, worn out from walking at three parks, then working in the yard for four hours, the pedometer registered a little over seven miles, since heading out in the early morning hours of November 6, 2021.

My first stop of the day was the 44-acre Refuge Gateway of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (“DRIWR”) located at the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River in Trenton, Michigan. I follow the DRIWR on social media and they had touted a hiking event from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; I wasn’t participating in that event, thus I wanted to be early to beat the crowd.

You probably noticed that DRIWR has the word “international” in its official lengthy moniker and this is for a reason: it is North America’s only international wildlife refuge, with the U.S. on one side of the Detroit River and Canada on the other.

This was my fifth trip to this venue since my initial visit in October 2020, shortly after it opened. Even before gas prices were sky high, I usually made a weekend morning out of visiting these three shoreline parks: Lake Erie Metropark, the DRIWR and Elizabeth Park as they are all located within a six-mile area.

Unbelievably this visit to the Refuge would be a totally critter-less trek. How could that be possible? I failed to see a single Ring-billed Seagull, usually a perpetual visitor at any shoreline park. I had hoped to return home packing photos of the abundance of roosting Double-crested Cormorants I spied in the trees across from the fishing pier during the “Walk for the Wild 5K Challenge” on October 9th. Evidently they had flown the coop with just the many nests dotting the trees.

The weatherman said it was 32F/0C with a heavy frost and high humidity. As I dressed I decided another layer or two was in order as I’d be down by the breezy shoreline and likely would be grateful I had bundled up.

As I walked down the hill from the parking lot and past the Prairie Habitat, I noticed the Milkweed pods were either closed up tight or spewing wisps of white fibers which glommed onto the frost-tipped grass and, even in the dim light, on the horizon I saw Humbug Island’s trees were either blah or bare.

In the distance, the sun was slowly filling in the sky casting its rays ever so slightly onto the 700-foot/213-meter-long Korneffel Fishing Pier.

As I peered down that pier that juts out into the western Trenton Channel, just a few fishermen dangled their lines, hopeful for a bite from some of the 113 species of fish in these waters. The Korneffel Pier is able to accommodate 100 persons at a time, so I wondered if the rest of the anglers begged off due to frozen fingers or they had other fish to fry on this frosty morn?

As I stepped onto the Pier, I felt my lug-soled hiking boot sllllllide a little and I went to grab the railing. I had been momentarily blinded by the sun and failed to see this layer of frost on the Pier, which is comprised of metal and a Trex-like material. Suffice it to say, I backed up posthaste – no way was I going to walk that Pier until the tail end of the trek.

So, I hiked back up the hill as the sun was climbing high in the sky. I passed the Visitor Center where I saw the scrawls in the frost, likely the handiwork of the Visitor Center workers.

As I meandered along, I began noting that the heavy frost had left leaves looking like Frosted Flakes cereal and in spots, the grass looked like Mother Nature had sprinkled icing sugar onto it.

I approached the Monguagon  Boardwalk which crosses over the Delta. I was hoping to take photos of any Herons or Egrets fishing for breakfast, but I struck out and once again was thwarted by heavy frost that had slickened up that walkway.

Call me a ‘fraidy cat, but I won’t cross the Boardwalk if there’s any wind, because, as you can see, there is no railing and it is a similar material to the Fishing Pier, so I had no intentions of crossing the Boardwalk with this frosty glaze and perhaps slipping and falling into the water.

Finally the sun was up and bright so I got some photos showing the reflections on the water at the Delta. The entrance to the DRIWR and a sizable portion of the Refuge run along West Jefferson Avenue, in the heart of an industrial area, so I am usually careful not to include nearby industrial plants, nor the red and white “Trenton Stacks” which rise from the Trenton Channel Power Plant, in my photos.

I made an exception today due to awesome reflections and to illustrate how industry and nature co-exist here at the DRIWR.

There is some artwork that appears on the fringe of the Monguagon Delta. I scoured the internet to see what this is and who created it to no avail.

This area is the part of DRIWR that hints that industry once was king. The Trenton Refuge Gateway was originally the site of a Chrysler manufacturing facility that was deactivated in 1990 and unbelievably it took two decades to morph from that former industrial site into this natural Refuge. In this photo you see how the picturesque background is marred by the Trenton Stacks mingling with a row of tall trees

The landscape was blah as we had a hard freeze earlier in the week which zapped most of the vegetation, though the occasional wildflowers or colorful weeds had been spared.

Humbug Island was wearing its Autumn colors and some trees were already bare.

At a glance, the ever-present Phragmites resembled shafts of wheat.

Perhaps a jaunt at Humbug Marsh would not be slick and net some photos?

I figured I’d hike over to Humbug Marsh, a pristine 410-acre parcel of land that contains the last mile of natural shoreline along the U.S. mainland portion of the Detroit River. The other 97% of the Detroit River shoreline has been disturbed or otherwise destroyed.

There are several wooden outlooks, one with a pair of high-powered telescopes hidden within a bird blind that resembles a bird’s-nest. Other wildlife observation areas are outfitted with Adirondack chairs, including one near Eagle Point, where, if you’re lucky, you’ll see a pair of nesting Bald Eagles. The remaining outlooks all offer a superb view of Humbug Island, the waterfowl and a total of 300 species of birds that frequent the shoreline, migrate through and/or flit through the forest. Every visit I’ve looked around to find such hidden critters as deer, mink, otter or even an Eastern Fox Snake. I’ve not seen any of these four critters, nor the eagles and I can live without seeing the snake, though I’d like to see it from a few paces away . Within Humbug Marsh is the “Old Growth Forest” so named for its 300-year-old trees, including some very tall and spindly Shagbark Hickory trees. As I approached that area I thought to myself “surely, frost will not be an issue here – I’ll just walk on the Orange and Green Trails in the forest and stay off the elevated walkways which are made of the same material as the Pier and Boardwalk.”

So how did THAT work out Linda?

I passed this new contraption at the entrance to Humbug Marsh which subtly announced to me that the trails might be muddy, so here was something to scrape the mud off your footwear.

Still grimacing a little over the aspect of muddy shoes, I stopped to read this posted sign.

Well, I was disgusted and quickly turned on my heel to leave. While it is already disconcerting to me, a nature lover, to hear the barrage of gunshots from nearby Pointe Mouilee during duck-hunting season, I sure didn’t like reading that waterfowl hunters were right along the shoreline of the Refuge … that didn’t sit well with me at all.

I made another stop at the Pier to check on those Double-crested Cormorants. The early frost was gone, but the walkway was still slick. No worries as there were nests, but I didn’t see any birds.

At least I saw a contrail over the Visitor Center as I headed to the car, after what was a very unremarkable trip here at the Refuge.

I was hopeful for a better i.e. more interesting walk at my next stop, beautiful Elizabeth Park, a venue that never disappoints. That trek will be next Monday’s post.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
This entry was posted in nature, walk, walking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Leaves were falling, temps were falling, but …

  1. Anne says:

    You choose interesting places to walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m surprised they allow hunting near walking trails. Great pictures as always. The shadows were interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I am surprised too Kate – they spent 20 years making this into a wildlife refuge and natural habitat to allow hunting? I did not want to come face-to-face with a duck hunter, nor see a duck falling out of the sky. My friend Carol, whom I’ve mentioned to you before re: the cats, walks in a rural area and was sad to see people shooting geese and them falling into the fields near where she walked. It would bother me too. Glad you liked the pictures – I’m glad we’re not just heading into the wintry weather.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Seeing as how hunting is allowed in Parks,I wonder what the bag limit is on Hunters?
    Allowing hunting of any sort in Parks where people are walking around is just ridiculous! If anyone was injured or worse I’m sure there would be law suits flying about like ducks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      That’s a good question Wayne! The Marsh area where they hunt is not all that big – that’s dangerous and dumb in my opinion. I knew you would be as appalled as I was. Two decades to whip this site into a natural refuge and you allow duck hunting? My friend in New York used to walk in a rural area and she would see hunters shooting Canada Geese out of the sky. She was sad seeing them fall to the ground, as we would as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. trumstravels says:

    It was funny to see you use the word Trenton as that’s the name of the city in Ontario that I live in! I would not have walked that Boardwalk either with no railings. We have a Provincial Park here, about 30 minutes from where I live and they allow bird/duck hunting. I don’t think they should, it’s bothersome to say the least! We pay to go into the park but at one portion there are signs to say Stay Clear because of the hunters. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I remember in one of your recent posts you mentioned Trenton was where you lived – it may have been the talk you gave on your trip to India? Trenton has this Refuge and Elizabeth Park which I really like as it’s so picturesque all year around. See that surprises me about allowing bird/duck hunting, especially since you have to pay to go to that Provincial Park. This Refuge is free – our state parks and the Metroparks we have to pay to enter them and I get a yearly pass. I didn’t notice any signs the year it opened – this was something new. They always conduct birding hikes here which is ironic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • trumstravels says:

        Yes our provincial parks can be expensive. Anywhere from $15-21 a day and $45- ish for 1 night camping. I don’t like hunting in the parks either. Even where I live, There’s a dirt road around the corner from us, not for vehicles, and I used to go for walks there but sometimes there are hunters so I stopped.

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s steep, but since it comes with camping privileges that is more reasonable. I think they should banish this practice to be honest.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurie says:

    Too bad you missed getting pictures of roosting double-crested cormorants. I would have enjoyed seeing them!

    You are wise to avoid the frosted walkways, Linda. Bill and I encountered a boardwalk with frosty patches when we visited Florida in January, and it was treacherous! Florida was having an unusual cold snap. We stopped for a run in a park first thing in the morning and never thought about possible ice in Florida. I wanted to turn around, but Bill is bolder than I am, so we pressed on. I wound up tiptoeing over several very slippery spots.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I was bummed I missed those Double-crested Cormorants this time Laurie. They were all over those trees just one month earlier and I wanted to get some close-ups this time. I’ll look every time now.

      That walkway was slick – too slick to walk on for me. I knew Florida had that cold spell, but that’s ridiculous isn’t it? I don’t blame you for taking it slow. The walkways are all Trex decking and no treads on them. I wonder why no one thought of that as the humidity or rain would likewise make them slippery?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. peggy says:

    Your walks are very interesting. I love the reflections in the water. I admire the number of steps you manage to accumulate on your very long walks. You are such an ambitious walker.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Peggy. I’m hoping we have a lot of warm and dry days as my walking regimen has been slow to take off this year. Once again, we had an all-day rain today, yesterday we had snow, which melted. I won’t complain as I hear more bad weather is coming and I hope you are not in that line of bad weather for the third week in a row.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pam Lazos says:

    Look at you, talking about phragmites, Linda. Not many people know what they are! Also, lucky you didn’t end up in the drink after stepping onto that frosty pier. ;0)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I took an interpretive walk at Lake Erie Metropark one time Pam – it was all about invasive species and they are all over the bigger shoreline parks here, especially the marshy areas. In some of the rural suburbs these phragmites multiply so rapidly that they clog sewer drains and cause flooding. Sometimes controlled burns are done to eradicate them. I wasn’t taking any chances there on that pier. The Trex decking may look nice and hold up well, but it has no treads on it and I pictured myself flying off into the water. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        It’s true about the phragmites, Linda. They are also indicative of wetlands which is cool even though the phrag are invasive.

        So Trex is really slippery? We have to redo our deck and someone was saying Trex is the way to go, but maybe not if it’s so slippery when wet. 🥴

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        All the phragmites I see are pretty healthy looking Pam, so I guess that is a good sign for our coastal marshes and wetlands. I don’t have a deck, but a friend got a new deck a few years ago and I recall her mentioning the slippery aspect of it. You weigh that against having real wood which has grains and is not slippery, but needs to be treated and maintained to keep it from splintering. I just looked to see if there was a solution (besides using grips on the desk, like you would on stairs) and will send you the link separately. Do you follow Ally Bean’s blog? She just got a new deck last year – I know she was on a waiting list for a long time due to supply issues back in 2020 already due to the pandemic. Another blogger I follow, Kate Crimmons, lives in your state and is getting a new deck installed this week. Both Ally and Kate have the same weather as you. My friend in North Carolina is lamenting over pollen which coats her deck and has to washed down sometimes several times a day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        I didn’t even think about the pollen, Linda. We live in the woods. 😳

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        No problem there then Pam! I hope it works out for you with the new decking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hi Pam – here is a link to the info on the decking. At the Refuge, the pier and the boardwalk jut out into the water, so there is spray from the water and humidity as well to contend with.

        https://thebackyardpros.com/is-composite-decking-slippery-when-wet/

        Here is Kate’s blog – they were supposed to start yesterday, but maybe postponed due to the rain. Or I can ask what type of deck she is getting if you’d like:
        https://coffeekatblog.com/2022/04/03/random-5-for-april-3-2022-walking-pups-aches-procrastination-rain/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        Thank you, Linda!💕

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I watch wildfowl mainly in camouflage and would worry about doing so in a hunting area can not see how you can mix walking and shooting, Also call something an international wildlife refuge and then allowing hunting does not sit right with me either Linda. Great views along the river.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Andy – I knew as an avid birder you would feel the same way I did. I don’t understand why you allow duck hunting in an area that you are trying to preserve as a natural refuge and a peaceful place. You’d not be safe wearing your camouflage clothing and walking through here. It is very scenic along the river They have made it easy for birders to watch their favorite birds or waterfowl with the bird blind and overlooks.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Zazzy says:

    I spent some time searching for that totem-like sculpture but couldn’t find anything about it. I was surprised, however, to find that hunting is allowed in your wildlife refuge. That’s not a very refuge thing to do, is it? I imagine that is what happened to all the birds and wildlife – they were hiding somewhere away from the sounds of guns. Do you need to wear an orange vest?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Zazzy – thanks for searching too and I can’t understand why there is no credit or mention to the sculpture’s creator. Google image search netted nothing and I even went back and re-read some press releases when it was ready to open. Last year the Detroit Institute of Arts put reproductions of famous paintings in various parks from May to September. There was a painting here, near the Delta area and there was media coverage regarding that painting – one painting, go figure. I was appalled about the duck hunting right in the Marsh area. People hike through that forest or paddle through the water around the Marsh in kayaks or canoes … the other side of the small forest is a marshy area and I often see herons there. You’re right – I never thought of that idea that the noise from the gunshot scared them so they were wary to come out. An orange vest is not something I would have thought was necessary – just incredible.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Eilene Lyon says:

    A shame you didn’t get to see any critters there. Maybe the hunters had scared everything away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I think that is the first time I’ve gone to the larger shoreline parks and come away with no shots of critters. I never thought of the gunshots scaring them, but that sure sounds like the reason. P.S. – hope you enjoyed your skiing getaway Eilene.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Joni says:

    Oh I wouldn’t have liked seeing or hearing waterfowl hunters. Interesting to see nature and industry co-existing though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      No, not nice to hear the shotgun pops Joni. It is bad enough I hear them at Lake Erie Metropark all the time in duck hunting season. I wasn’t going to stick around and see ducks dropping out of the sky. And walking there would be dangerous! I usually don’t take pictures of where the industry meets up with nature because it isn’t picturesque, but the reflections were stunning that morning.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Thank goodness you spotted the dangerous walkways before going farther and it’s wise to stay away when it’s windy. My goodness, that would be a painful disaster.
    Nice photos as always! My favorite is the grey pier photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, it was frosty on the Pier and the Boardwalk – I was paying attention to the sun rising high in the sky and not paying attention to the frosty. I am more careful in Winter – I did not realize that frost was there. I liked that photo too, just a little light on that 700-foot Pier.

      Like

  13. J P says:

    Hmm, a wildlife refuge with no wildlife? How odd.

    I looked up the history of the site – Chrysler built engines there starting in 1952, and there’s a second engine plant nearby that’s newer and still active.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      The first Chrysler plant was huge – lots of people, males mostly, got out of high school, knew someone and got their foot in the door at any of the Big Three automobile companies. That was a hoppin’ place at one time. The natural aspect of this Refuge makes it hard to believe just how much industry is “in the neighborhood”. The nearby DTE Trenton Channel Power Plant (with its red and white stacks) is to be decommissioned sometime this year. I’m wondering if they’ll take the stacks down.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Ally Bean says:

    I love old growth forests, yet I don’t know of any around here. I didn’t know about International Wildlife Refuge, N. America’s only one. A pier that accommodates 100 people fishing at one time? That’s amazing. You do live near some interesting places.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      That old growth forest is pretty unique – not very big, but those tall trees in it are something to see. They have a vernal pond there which I’m going to try to see/hear those Spring Peeper frogs. That fishing pier is huge Ally. I’ve seen it loaded up and down on either side and people aren’t bumping into each other like happens in the other shoreline boardwalks where they can only fish from one side. We are pretty lucky with all the parks here and only the state parks and metroparks charge you to visit them.

      Like

  15. So disappointing to have hunters on your walk Linda. Spring will get here eventually, I hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A very frosty walk, takes me back a few months! Good thing you stayed off that boardwalk. I do the same thing as you with my pictures, focusing on the natural beauty and not on all industry surrounding us here. But those reflections were pretty impressive! Enjoyed seeing the autumn colors on Humbug Island. I could use one of those boot scrapers — wonder what the condo association would think of me having one on my porch. 😉 So sorry the hunters spoiled your adventure. Hope things went better at Elizabeth Park!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I am glad we’re not just entered this frosty weather and instead are (supposedly) exiting it Barbara. We have a wintry mix Friday, maybe Saturday too. I am glad I did make the exception this time as those reflections were so stunning. Peak had passed, but we had a rainy October and with the time change, it’s too dark to get there before work in the morning, so it must be on a weekend, so I missed the stunning colors, however I got some nice shots of golden leaves at the next park. You need to have a faux rock to put over the boot scraper, like people who hide electrical outlets underneath those hollowed-out rocks. The condo association would not say it was unsightly. In my next life, I want a mud room – my cellarway landing is so small that I have to hang onto the railing for dear life to put on/take off boots as it’s such a small area, or risk falling down the cellar stairs.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Nancy Ruegg says:

    That one shot of weeds with a few bright spots of red (berries?) catches the eye. Subtle but pretty! I like the way you choose to look ahead (to your next adventure) Linda, rather than focus on the current disappointment. A wise attitude to take in life!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Nancy – it is a good attitude to take for life as well. The next venue, Elizabeth Park, was very pretty and the leaves were golden and some, not all had dropped, so very pretty.

      Like

  18. Sweet pics! 😁 I am sick of this cool, windy weather!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Your trek reminded me of the perseverance we’ve had to use over the last two years. I’m hopeful that this summer’s weather will be better for us. I look forward to your posts and discoveries. PS – I always love your reflection shots, you frame them so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dave says:

    Even if this walk didn’t bear much fruit, the initial photo stuck with me as I read about it. Love the contrast of the brittle leaves on the bed of green. A sign of the changing season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I liked that photo too Dave. Sometimes I have a tough time picking what photo to showcase as the header image, but that one seemed to match the title and the uneventful trip. I hate to see the leaves fall as I know what is ahead. Our trees have not leafed out yet and Spring is reluctant to show up!

      Like

  21. bekitschig says:

    Ah … finally!!! No birds 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. hbsuefred says:

    This post makes me more excited about my upcoming move to MI. At the same time it makes me glad I will be arriving in the summer. Not sure if I’ll make that my permanent home but, as I have told my kids, I want to see what’s elsewhere than the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo part of the thumb that may give me more ideas for opportunities to pursue.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s