Exploration Guides

We're all explorers. You just need the right guide.

Time For Some Changes (In Your Pack)

I’m afraid it’s true. Summer does seem to be coming to an end, after all. While a chance of season brings up a whole new set of trails to explore, it also brings some new requirements for your pack.

Your can lose the bug spray, if you have any left. You don’t want that stuff to freeze, anyway. Just save what’s left for next year.

Sunscreen may need to stay in your pack for winter, depending on where you’re hiking. Come spring, though, throw it away and buy new. It only lasts a year or two before it starts to break down and become less effective.

Space blankets are in. They’re light. They’re cheap. They take up almost no space. They can save your life, or at least make a miserable hike only an uncomfortable one. There’s no reason to not carry one or two in the winter (and summer, really, since they keep the sun off you in the summer).

Every cold-weather pack needs a chemical heat pack or two, too. These used to be fairly expensive, but now they’re only a buck or two. You can get small ones to slip into your gloves, or larger ones for pockets. Like sunscreen, these expire, too. Check for an expiration date and, if you don’t find one on the package, throw it away and buy some new ones for this winter. Don’t worry. They’re generally nothing more than iron powder, and maybe a bit of salt, so they’re non-toxic, but as moisture and oxygen seep through the plastic over a period of months, they do degrade.

Extra water ALWAYS belongs in your pack, of course. You should drink as much in the winter as you do in the summer. A good guide is 0.5 – 1.0 liters per hour while hiking.

And, of course, if you’re not wearing your waterproof, windproof shell, it needs to be in your pack. Same goes for hat and gloves.

Now get outside and enjoy the trails.

October 3, 2015 Posted by | hiking, Trail reports | , | Leave a Comment

Premier Public Showing

The premier public showing of Rediscovering Edsel Ford’s Haven Hill will be four weeks from tonight, at 6pm, Wednesday, October 21 at the Village Branch of Cromaine Library in Hartland, Michigan.  Following the film, there will be time for questions.  DVD’s will also be available for sale.


This is a free showing, open to all, whether you live in Hartland or not.  Preregistration is encouraged, but not required.  You can register at the Cromaine Library’s web site.

Please note that, even if it says it’s full, you can still come.  They just add more chairs.

September 23, 2015 Posted by | video | | Leave a Comment

Rediscovering Edsel Ford’s Haven Hill

Bet you thought we’d crawled into a cave somewhere and gone into hibernation, it’s been so long since we’ve posted anything.  Nope.  Not even close.  We’ve just been working so hard on our latest project that we haven’t had much of a chance to post on here.  Now it’s finally time to show it off!

Rediscovering Edsel Ford's Haven Hill DVD Cover

In 1923, Edsel Ford began buying up land an hour northwest of Detroit in what would become his Haven Hill Estate. In the end, he’d own nearly four square miles of forest, farmland, lakes, and wetlands.

In 1946, a few years after his his death, his wife Eleanor sold the estate to the State of Michigan.

The major buildings remained in use, for a time. Eventually, even the remaining builders were abandoned to time and the elements. Between, fire, neglect, decay, and the passing decades, most of the estate was lost and forgotten.

In 2009, explorations began with a few friends and, in 2014, Exploration Guides, led by Darrin Fowler, committed to rediscovering and sharing the Haven Hill Estate with the world.

Granted exclusive access to every building and underground space on the estate, and having scoured the grounds looking for any trace of the past, they’ve discovered not only a lot about Edsel Ford’s Haven Hill, but a lot about what happened before and since, too.

Join Darrin and his team as they Rediscover Edsel Ford’s Haven Hill.


We have DVD’s on-hand today, but we’re still not quite set up to sell them on-line.  Check back soon for that, and also some sneak peeks.

September 20, 2015 Posted by | video | , , | Leave a Comment

Myths & Legends at Haven Hill

A team of researchers from Exploration Guides today found proof that a widely held belief about Haven Hill is, in fact, wrong, and that two local legends, while they do each  contain a grain of truth, don’t contain much more than that.

As “Rediscovering Edsel Ford’s Haven Hill” nears completion of filming, all the pieces are coming together for what is sure to be the most in-depth work on Edsel’s lost estate.

March 29, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a Comment

New finds at Haven Hill

I spent a couple years actively exploring Haven Hill with a couple friends. That project fell apart, but now I’m back and working on a video documentary of the site. Amazingly, we’re still finding new stuff! We found a new building foundation a few weeks ago and, after getting a bit more information up at the state archives earlier this week, today we found remains of the ski slopes set up for the Fords (and later added onto).

No release date for the documentary yet, but we are making slow, steady progress.

November 28, 2014 Posted by | Trail reports, video | , , , | Leave a Comment

Best time for a slippery log crossing

Best time to cross a slippery, unstable log over a bottomless pit of mud? When carrying a ton of expensive, not waterproof, electronics.

Second best time? When carrying those same electronics, but when it’s still light out.

Oh, wait a minute. Did I mean worst, not best? Oh well. Did both today, successfully, while filming for our upcoming documentary.

October 19, 2014 Posted by | Trail reports, video | Leave a Comment