An October Hike in Michigan Woods

Today my hubby and I drove an hour east to hike a trail in the Waterloo State Recreation Area. (I’m thankful the STATE government didn’t shut down as well as the federal; even if so, with all the locals living there, there was no way to block all the roads through the area; so, yay.) So we enjoyed a sunny fall hike for 90 minutes (with temps in the 80’s — not quite so normal temperature for October in MI, but not rare, either).

We started at the Pond Lily Trail trailhead, where ten thousand orange lady bugs made us welcome. We’d hiked before to this overlook on other visits, and we’d done the nearby meadow hike, but we needed a first-of-fall-colors hike through woods for today. So we took the bridle path. Ours were the only human footprints on the soft trail. The rest were horseshoe prints. I felt like I was hiking through a 2′ to 4′ very long corral. But the scenery was spectacular! What fun to engage in a woods-hike once again. It feel like it’s been forever.

Interestingly enough, the trails did not follow the paths on the trail signs, nor did they follow the trails on our 2003 map of the area. No worries on our behalf. With two sides (to the north and west) having a road, we knew we couldn’t get lost. It was an adventure. And with the leaves just starting to turn, it was an early fall adventure. Part of me wishes we lived in the woods, far from “crowded” areas. I find it so pleasant in the woods. We saw several chipmunks and a large red-tailed hawk. Of course, there was from those who traveled it before us, horse-poopy on the trail. But for those wonderful 90 minutes, it was only about Jeff and me and the wonderful Michigan fall woodlands.

I collected a few colorful fallen leaves for our son in Arizona. Does he remember what fall in the northeast is like? Does his childhood memory bring back fond memories of numerous hikes we’d taken as a family? I’ve pressed the leaves between pieces of cardboard and will give them to him when next we meet. It is a piece of fall. A piece of his own history. A piece of my present.

When we returned to our car, with quick door openings and closings, we managed to only bring three orange ladybugs home with us. One was on the outside of my passenger side window. We were traveling at 70 mph down I-94, and that little beetle hung onto the glass the entire hour ride home. That fact will tell you something of how it felt when twenty ladybugs at a time landed on us. On clothing, no problem. On skin… man, those tiny little claws can grab tightly. Of course, who wants to hurt a ladybug? They are good for the garden and good for luck and just make people feel happy — when you look at them, but not when they cling to your skin with their itsy-bitsy tiny claws! Just saying.

So now we’re home, and photos are on my FB page, and memories are stored in my mind along with thousands of other wonderful fall adventures.

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