Exploration Guides

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The Advantages of Exploring in the Fall

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a huge fan of fall or winter, in general, but there is, however, one, distinct advantage to this time of year. From the time in early fall, when the undergrowth has largely died down, until there’s heavy snow, then again from the time the snow melts until the undergrowth takes over, it’s the best time to look for new ruins in forested areas.

In the winter, everything buried under snow. In mid-summer, it can sometimes seem it’s buried just as deep in mosquitoes, and it’s just as hidden with undergrowth. You can still go explore your world, of course, and you should, but time time of year, it can be a little easier to spot new things.  This weekend, while hiking in Ortonville State Recreation Area, some friends and I found this.

stone wall at ortonville

It’s a little hard to see, unless you zoom in, but once you do, you’ll see the remains of a stone basement wall.  We found two basements I hadn’t seen before, and part of a car body, too, all in places I’ve repeatedly walked by in spring and summer without even noticing them.


And don’t forget, your first chance to see Rediscovering Edsel Ford’s Haven Hill will be on Wednesday at 6pm at Hartland’s Cromaine Library, in downtown Heartland.  Following the film, I’ll be answering questions on Haven Hill, archaeology, and filmmaking.

October 18, 2015 Posted by | hiking, Trail reports, video | Leave a Comment

Nature RX – The Cure For Modern Life

Warning: “Side effects may include confidence, authenticity, remembering you have a body, and being in a good mood for no apparent reason.”

I just saw this and realized that everyone needs to see it. Then turn off the computer and go outside.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | hiking, video | Leave a Comment

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