Exploration Guides

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

Video Explorations?

Went out Saturday scouting a location for a video exploration with a friend.  Not sure exactly what form it’ll take, if it’ll be Exploration Guides, or something else, but it should be good.  Probably look for it in the summer.

January 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a Comment

Winter hiking

Wow!  Can you believe I haven’t posted anything in about seven weeks, either here or on FaceBook?  Must be winter in Michigan!  OK, so winter in Michigan, plus working on two, back to back projects that have really drained the energy of the Exploration Guides staff.  Still been getting out on the trails at least once a week, though.

First, the second draft of the dayhiking book is finished and, following the advice of nearly every writer, it’s now sitting in a back corner of my hard drive for a few months before I pick it up again and finish it.

Secondly, the first ID app, North American Trees, has made good progress on the database.  Hopefully it’ll be out by spring.

You remember spring, right?  That time when everyone else hits the trails and paddles the rivers?  I know it’s hard to get out in the winter, and nearly impossible to do it for most of us after work, unless you want to do a night hike, but don’t forget that there are some nice advantages of winter hiking.

1)  The trails are mostly deserted!  Know those trails you’ve been avoiding due to overcrowding, whether too many mountain bikes, too many horses, or too many hikers?  With the exception of a few trails popular with cross-country skiers, you won’t have that problem the next couple months.

2)  There’s a lot more light for night hikes.  There’s less leaves to block the light from the moon (or reflected light pollution off the clouds) and the snow reflects that light right back again, giving you even more light.  The next full moon is on Sunday 1/27, so that whole weekend should be good for a night hike.  Just remember to dress extra-warm, as the temperature can drop quick on winter nights, especially if the sky’s clear.

3)  Snowshoes?  Cross-country skis?  If you’ve never tried ’em, go rent a pair.  Lots of parks have rentals cheap, and some groups set up events where you can even try a pair free.

4)  It’s probably the best time to find and follow animal tracks.  Follow a set off through the woods and try to figure out how the animal you’re following interacted with other animals along the way.  I once followed a set of rabbit and coyote tracks through the northern part of Waterloo Recreation Area for nearly two miles before the coyote finally stopped for dinner.

5)  No snakes!  No, really.  They’re cold-blooded.  They’re mostly snakesicles this time of year.  No bugs, either.

Just remember the rules of hiking in the winter.  Dress in layers, and have an extra in your pack (you may want to add one, remember).  You may want a dry pair or gloves or a dry hat in your pack, too.  Also, only plan about half the distance you’d normally go if there’s fresh snow.  It’s a lot more work breaking trail in the snow, although you can always take turns in the lead to spread the extra work around some.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a Comment