It was such a calm and warm night. The kind of night that goes good with a camp fire and cold beer. We sat around the fire, I drank beer and told corny ghost stories. All my kids but the youngest just laugh at my stories, they’re too old to think they are scary. My youngest though put her feet up on the chair and moved closer to me saying, “dad, is that true.” I smiled and didn’t answer.
My attempt at a panoramic photo using an iPhone app. It didn’t work out as planned because I couldn’t get the timing right. You have do a 360 at just the right pace or the image is choppy but if you go too slow it causes the breaks you see in the clouds. This is the Lefurge Woods Nature Preserve. One of the places I frequent in the warmer months.
This winter has been brutal. I’ve experienced temperatures colder than I’ve ever felt. I’ve seen more snow than I’ve ever seen, enough to last a lifetime. I can’t remember what flowers, dirt and grass smell like.
As soon as the snow melts I will be on the trails looking for signs of life and hoping to photograph a flower.
Photo taken at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens a few springs ago. When visiting the gardens I always try to walk quietly, camera ready, on hopes of an encounter with wildlife. On this day the butterflies were in abundance, mostly these orange butterflies on orange flowers. Approaching them was quite easy and getting close up shots didn’t seem to startle them at all.
Later on I would have an encounter with a coyote while quietly walking a trail. I heard rustling in the bushes and thought it might be a deer. Before I could get close enough to react it was running deep into the brush so I only caught a glimpse of the head and back as it ran in an out of tall grass.
Over the summer we visited the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and stopped at the covered bridge for pictures because that’s what you do on this drive. You stop, take pictures then continue on. In the middle of summer there are hundreds of other people doing the same thing. When you pause for a picture like this one there are often times groups of people waiting to do the same. This time not so much.
This vacation was the second of two trips north with just the kids, this time with the girls. It was late in the year, the weather wasn’t great, cloudy and windy for most of the trip, but the air was warm enough. The rain pretty much held off too so there was plenty of outdoor activity.
Our idea to visit the scenic drive on this day actually worked out quite well. In years past we hiked in this area and the heat made it hard especially when the kids were younger. We woke up to a cloudy day and a little cooler so this seemed like the obvious day to visit the area.
The kids are all big enough now to handle the walk across the dunes to the Dune Climb but there was a time when I had to carry my youngest back to the car. I can still remember her wearing a green hat, red-faced, walking slowly like she was about to faint. The memory is not hard because of course I took a picture of her. She’s always been so dramatic but in truth it was a hot walk. I put her on my shoulders and walked on. Carrying my little princess to her chariot aka mini-van.
It’s only around two or so miles from the place we always park but when you look out at all the sand, dune grass and hills it seems like the walk is forever. Sometimes you run into people on the trail who ask how to get to Lake Michigan from the trial. It’s about a four mile walk across the sand and not hard to miss but I’ve never tried it.
When we arrived the girls quickly took off down the hill where most people park. I sat up at the top and took pictures because that’s what I always do on vacations. I’m the one who always takes the pictures. For me the pictures always take me back to the time. I swear if we didn’t have two feet of show and the whole polar vortex thing going on, I’d plan a trip north. This was the last vacation before winter when I decided I just couldn’t let go of summer. I also knew there were significant changes about to take place in the home so I thought this might be my last chance for a while to take the kids north.
It’s a pretty standard nature trail except on this section they place mulch along the path. The ground can get a little soggy in spots so perhaps that’s the purpose of the mulch. This is a trail at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor Michigan. It’s at the far end of a path leading to my favorite place where there’s a pond and a bench. The pond is a secluded spot where I’ve only seen a couple of people venture to. It’s a long walk but a spot I almost always go to where I sit and relax, think and take pictures.
I’ve taken my kids here several times too. They like feed the fish. It’s a ‘no fishing’ pond but they do have some nice sized blue gill in it and I’ve seen a decent sized bass or two. This always leads to a conversation about when we might be going fishing again. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve taken the kids fishing. I’m not sure why that’s the case as it’s something we all enjoy so much. I think this summer most of our time was spent visiting Ypsilanti (our favorite restaurants) and nature preserves like this one.
Today I am going to drive past the botanical gardens on my way to and from a job site and am thinking about walking the path but I don’t know, it’s cold out and we just got a few more inches of snow with more on the way. I’d have to dress really warm and wear winter boots for the walk too but the boots are in the garage, I could throw them in the truck before I head out this morning. I wonder if the pond is frozen over and what it looks like now? I’m certain the pond is frozen over considering the cold weather we have had this year. I’d like to find out for myself.