Exploration Guides

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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

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

A New Year and a New Web Site

It’s 2014 and it looks like we’re off to a cold start.  Here in Michigan, we used to get snow like this back around the last ice age (say anytime before about 1985 or so), but we never had so many sub-zero days.  I think everyone’s looking forward to spring, except the people who love winter.

If you’re into snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, ice skating, or any other winter sports, this is a great winter!  If you’re not, it’s still no excuse to stay inside and hibernate, no matter how great an idea that may seem to be.  If you’re looking to get out on the trails to do a bit of hiking in this weather, just remember the basic winter tips:

  • Snow and ice will make the trail seem about twice as long as usual.  If you’d normally hike 5 miles, stick to 2 or 3.  If you’d normally hike 10 miles, might want to plan for 5.
  • You probably won’t feel thirsty as often, but you still need to drink just as much water.  In cold weather, you actually have to think about drinking enough water.  Remember, you should probably be drinking at least a half liter per hour and stopping to “water a tree” every hour or two.
  • Dress in layers.  Everyone says, this, but it doesn’t always work.  I know.  I usually want to remove the bottom layer, not the outer, windproof one.  If a lot of those layers have zippers, though, you can open and close jackets and vents quickly and easily.  Open up when you start to move, before you get hot, and close them when you stop, before you get cold.
  • Breaking trail is hard on fresh snow.  Unless it’s a popular cross-country ski trail, there won’t be many people there, anyway, so it may be a great time to hit the more popular trails.  A well-packed trail is much easier to hike.  Think of the difference between walking on a well-packed gravel trail compared to trudging through deep, dry sand.
  • Bring some extra food.  You’ll be burning a lot of extra calories, both due to the trail and also due to the cold.
  • Make sure your emergency kit is stocked up, including a survival blanket and chemical hand warmers for everyone in your group.  Don’t be afraid to break out the hand warmers – they’re cheap, but worth it.
  • Enjoy your hike!

February 9, 2014 Posted by | Trail reports | , , | Leave a Comment

Our First Book

I’m happy to announce that, as of last night, my first book, Dayhiking, is available for purchase internationally at Amazon.com.  It is available only in eBook format at this time, so the Amazon version requires the free Kindle reader, which you can download from them for Android, iPhone, Mac, PC, or just about anything else.  You can Get Dayhiking at http://www.amazon.com/Dayhiking-Exploration-Guides-Hiking-ebook/dp/B00CQOP7K6

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a Comment

Kensington Metropark History

Kensington Metropark is full of history, although sometimes you might have to look around a bit to see it.

Certainly the most visible history at Kensington is the Farm Center, on the north side of Kent Lake.  At more than 150 years old, the barn, and (newer) adjacent buildings give you the opportunity to see how crops and livestock are raised, as well as some of the antique equipment which has been used for decades, or longer, to harvest those crops.

Behind the Nature Center, you can find a few of the remains of the village of Kensington.  With ruins of at least two houses, plus various other equipment, fences, and more spread throughout the area, you never know what you’ll find if you just keep your eyes open.

And no matter where you go in the park, on the trails or off, you’ll find sections of fencing still in place, and other artifacts, left when the park changed from residential and farmland to the park we enjoy today.

This page is just a small part of the Kensington Metropark mobile app.

Return to the main Kensington Metropark page.

Return to the main Huron Clinton Metropark page.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | | , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Kensington Metropark

Kensington Metropark, one of the largest in the Huron Clinton Metropark System, is located just off I-96 in Milford Michigan, between Brighton and Novi.  Built around Kent Lake, a man-made lake on the Huron River, Kensington is very popular, but spread out enough to rarely appear crowded.

Like all metroparks, of course there’s plenty of open, grassy area, but Kensington also has a lot else to do.

This page is just a small part of the Kensington Metropark mobile app.

Visit the official Kensington Metropark page.

Return to the main Huron Clinton Metropark page.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment