A Woodland Hike…At Last!

 

Last Friday – Jeff’s day off of work – we decided to finally venture out of our house and either take a drive past some woods, or maybe even hike into some. The last time we hiked was March 13th, seven weeks ago. In the past seven weeks of our pandemic shelter-in-place, we drove downtown to the church building once to video a communion, and then last Tuesday at 7AM, I bravely entered a small store for groceries. Otherwise, it’s been home-deliveries and neighborhood walks. But on Friday, a good old day off, and with great trepidation from us both, we headed to the woods of Fort Custer State Park, about 20 minutes drive from our house.

We took face masks, but expected to only wear them if there was no way to avoid another human (e.g., passing people walking towards us on a narrow trail).

Our first shock came as we headed to the park: at 10:30AM, the Meijer grocery store had about 200 cars in its lot. And, oh, the traffic on the road! It was busier than a normal pre-pandemic Friday day-off day out.

Our second shock: Oy-yi-yi! The park itself was incredibly crowded, and we didn’t even go to the more popular places.

We bumped down a dirt road towards the Kalamazoo River. Usually when we’ve gone there, the small dirt parking lot is empty. Last Friday? Three cars. Crowded! We parked away from them and were getting ready to head for the river when a truck pulled in with three teens who popped out and headed to the out-of-the-way trail going along the river. The very trail I thought no one would be on.

Looking up the hill from our parked van, I spotted a bushed-over trail going away from the river…and away from people.  It looked like a deer trail, but as bushwacking is not unfamiliar to us, and the woods beaconing, up we headed through the brush. It connected to an equestrian trail. The thing about hiking on an equestrian trail is if you aren’t diligent about watching your step, well, horses are big old free-soilers, you know. I kept thinking we’d see someone, or need to step off-trail for a horse which had right-of-way. We didn’t see either person or horse.

We heard a lot of birds, and saw two tiny blue butterflies. Spring wildflowers were blooming,

and the mayapples were starting to bud.

Trees hadn’t started to leaf, so the walk was rather open, even going near a swamp.

Over one section, the path cut through grass. There was woodland before and after it. So, knowing the history of the park, and similar places in other Michigan parks, I’m guessing that was once someone’s lawn, although the brambles grew thickly around it. If I were curious enough, I’d research it.

But then (and now) I’m simply delighted that the two of us were able to be alone in the woods, and forgetting about the world for just a moment, to take one glorious hour’s hike.

 

Book Giveaways of The Powder Horn of Mackinac Island

It’s officially summertime! That means time for summer reading, especially on those days you can’t get outside to play.

Below are four opportunities to win a copy of The Powder Horn of Mackinac Island by Sandy Carlson. {humbly bowing} The book is set on the Michigan tourist location of Mackinac Island, where no motorized vehicles are allowed.

Short synopsis: Arianna just finished 7th grade and has to go to Mackinac Island for the summer with her parents and paraplegic brother to earn money for his upcoming surgery. By way of their inherited powder horn, she discovers she can time travel to 1793. But so can her brother. Only there, in the past, Luc can walk and run, and doesn’t want to return to the uncertain present.

The Powder Horn of Mackinac Island was published in March, and leveled at U by F&P Guided Reading. If you win and live in the USA, you will receive a print copy. If you win and live outside of the USA, you get an ebook copy. Good luck to all, and happy reading!

First Chance: Tracey A. Wood’s Blog this week only: Tracey’s Blog

Second Chance: Comment on my (this) blog post below between June 25 and July 6, 2017 for one winner.

Third chance: Goodreads Giveaway, June 28 – July 6, 2017.

The Powder Horn of Mackinac Island by Sandy Carlson

or Goodreads Giveaway

Fourth chance: Go to the book’s new FaceBook page and like and comment between June 25 and July 6, 2017: FaceBook Book Page to The Powder Horn of Mackinac Island

Fifth…anytime opportunity: And in case you can’t wait for a giveaway, or just missed getting one, you can find The Powder Horn of Mackinac Island in print or ebook at:

 

And FINALLY (if you made it this far), if you want to take a look at some photos of Mackinac Island, check out my Pinterest page: Pinterest – Mackinac Island Favorites