Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tearra And The Raging River

A few days ago I introduced you to Tearra. What I didn't tell you is that she is actually well known here in Michigan. She's been featured in newspapers, magazines, and TV here. She's a celebrity in parts of Michigan, and she tours the state and makes public appearances. I'm not the first to write about her, and I definitely won't be the last. She has actually accomplished quite a number of things. I won't say more than that out of respect for her privacy.

Another thing is that she has appeared on this website a few times before. I make it no secret that I'm one of her biggest fans. I actually had to beg her to come out to these places where you see her in these pictures. The water down there looked pretty dangerous, but she was brave enough to get right up to the edge and tolerate several photos.

There were a lot more photos taken of her that day, and I wasn't the only photographer. I kind of felt like I was in the way sometimes, with my little camera, but nobody seemed upset with me. I was treated pretty well, as a matter of fact. I was just happy to be there, so I tried to stay out of the way as much as possible.

Most of these pictures were taken of her standing by this raging river. The others were similar to what I've already shown. I had a few more up where it was a little safer, but me being a terrible photographer, I got them blurry, so they won't be shown here. Oh well, these are enough anyway.

She told me that this was actually the second time she had been photographed down there. Somebody did some professional photos of her for another project a little while back. I guess it was close to where you see her standing in these pictures.

The difference is that they did much more than I did, and it was for something much bigger than a lonely little internet blog. I was really lucky for her to agree to do this, especially since I didn't pay her for her time. She said it would be okay if I tagged along since she knew that I was a fan of hers.

While I was there, I got some other photos of this place too, that I'll put up here soon. It was a little cold out there that day, and that water was moving along pretty fast. There are some nice things to see out there. I was standing on a boardwalk, looking down at the water where she was standing. You can see it in this last picture.

This picture is from after the photo shoot. Tearra is walking back to her car with her bodyguard. She doesn't like having him around all the time, but it's necessary sometimes. He makes sure everything is done right and nobody messes with her. I'd rather get eaten by that dog from the other day than suffer his wrath. I've seen what he can do.

I told her I wouldn't put these photos up here if she didn't want me to, but she insisted that I did. That was pretty nice of her. Most people with her fame would have told me not to do it. I'm glad I got this chance to show someone like her on my site. When I decided to show more people here, I thought it would just be a few random people that I meet. I had no idea I could get someone like her to do this.

So I'll leave today by saying, Thanks Tearra.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Danger - Thin Ice

Last time I took pictures of this pond, it was full of geese. I got some pretty good shots, and some of them are here on this site. I showed you what it looked like to see geese landing in the pond. I really like stuff like that. I have a link to it at the bottom of this post, if you want to see it.

I wasn't necessarily going to take more pictures of the pond, but when I drove by it I saw something very interesting. It was something I have been waiting for ever since it started to get cold around here. The pond was frozen over. But wait, there's more...

Really, that's not all. It's not the best part. As I said, the pond was frozen over, but it was only frozen part of the way. I caught it in a really good transition period. I really didn't think it would freeze in the particular way that it did. It was really cool. Get it, cool. Heh heh.

Only half of the pond looked to be frozen. I figured it would freeze just a little more evenly. On the shore near the part that was frozen, there is a sign that is one of the most appropriate signs I've ever seen. Take a close look at it. I accidentally had perfect timing with this one.

The half of the pond that was still liquid on top looked kind of thick to me. Maybe there was ice in there too, but it wasn't quite frozen enough yet. I think you can see it a little bit in the picture below. On the surface of the wet area there are smaller patches where the water is frozen enough to have snow on it.

I like that there are patches in the frozen part where it's still a little more liquid. I wouldn't want to try skating on this thin ice. I just think that it's really interesting to see this pond in the middle of freezing. I'll make sure I get some photos of it when it's fully frozen later in the winter.

I forgot to mention that this pond is located in the front of Heritage Park. I'm interested to see what happens to the big pond in Woodland Hills Park. Will it freeze in this same way, or in a more expected manner. I'll have to go and look when it gets a little bit colder. Until then, I think I'm done with this pond story.

And if you're wondering how I escaped from the innards of that dog, don't ask me how. I mean it. Please, don't ask me. It's much too embarrassing. The only thing I'm willing to say is, yes, I did escape, and I'm fine now. Well sorta. It wasn't easy crawling through there, and I'm greatly traumatized from the whole experience. I should stop before I say too much.

See you tomorrow, with no more impolite mention of dogs. Uhhh.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Don't Mess With Tearra

This is Tearra. Tearra likes to play on the railroad tracks. Don't ask me why. She just does. There she is having a good time standing there on the tracks. I think she's waiting for a train. Maybe she's wanting to take a trip, like a hobo. I wonder if it's that she likes to jump in front of trains and scare the engineer. Not really. She just wanted her picture taken. She wanted to be a star.

Yesterday I said that I might start taking pictures of people, along with my nature photos. Tearra said she wanted to be the very first one. I kept asking her if she was really sure, but she insisted that she have her picture here. How could I say no? So I made sure that she got what she wanted. She wants to be a C-lebrity.

Tearra took me to some good places where we could get some more nature photos. There were some excellent places that I've never been to before. We got some excellent photos, that I'll feature here in the near future. I took several pictures of Tearra along with the nature. She was very helpful, and of course one of my very favorite people.

All in all, I'd say we had a pretty good time. It was so fun that we forgot the time. When we started it was about midafternoon, and it was already getting dark when we were finished. It's a shame it was getting dark, because she told me about a few fantastic and amazing animals that she knew about. Oh well, maybe next time.

Speaking of next time, I suggested to her that next time we could go back to those railroad tracks, and I could tie her up and leave her laying across them. I thought it was a pretty funny joke. But right then nice, sweet Tearra turned into mean, angry, evil Tearra.

She apparently didn't like what I said one little bit, because she brought out her vicious dog, Rock. By then I was wondering what I should do. Before I could come up with a solution, she pointed right at me, and said to Rock, "Sic 'em!"

Of course I was now paralyzed with fear. Rock was a killer! I had no where to run, and no where to hide. I had no idea my little joke would have such an impact. I mean, I wouldn't have said it if I would have known. What I said wasn't that bad! Please, no!

Why did I ever get the stupid idea to take pictures of people? I was happy walking alone on the nature trails, and taking nice peaceful pictures of trees and tiny waterfalls. Now this poor innocent little rat was going to get eaten by a vicious killer named Rock.

Then she let go of that monster dog, and walked away. She left me alone with him! I looked at him, and he looked at me. Did you ever wonder what it would be like knowing your own death was imminent? This might be it.

As we stared at each other, his eyes began to glow an eerie green. That's the last thing I ever saw. He ate me. This little rat was sliding down the throat of this big dog. It's funny, it didn't even hurt. He must have gotten me in one gulp. I guess I'll get to know what the inside of a stomach looks like. Then everything went dark. I was gone. It was over.

In the end, I guess this was an important lesson for every rat out there.


(Of course, this was a fictional story. No rats were harmed in the process of telling it. But as you can see by the pictures, it wasn't all fiction. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!)

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Nature Of My Thankfulness

This last time I went out hiking I found something completely unexpected. People! Whenever I visit these trails there are a few people around, but it was literally crowded. Until this year, I pretty much only went hiking during warmer weather, but now it'll be all year long. In the summer I would pass by maybe two or three groups of people a day; but as it gets colder, there are more and more people coming out.

The whole thing seems rather backwards to me. I thought at first they were looking at the fall colors, but those colors are gone now. I'm really not sure what the extra attraction is. Maybe the changing seasons are especially interesting for others.

When I go hiking I like to get plenty of pictures of the surrounding nature. I kind of avoid using pictures of people. Some people might not like having their picture posted on the internet. Honestly I'm not sure because I almost never ask. The few times I did, they were very receptive to the idea. So maybe I should reevaluate my thoughts on this.

I belong to a very private family, so my views on things like that are biased in that way. You can see by my avatar at the top of my blog, that I am very camera shy. This blog was actually a hard thing for me to start, because I had trouble with revealing anything to others. I think I'm getting better with that though. I leave clues to my identity every once in a while.

Back to my main subject. I went out to get some photos of nature, and not people. I saw so many people out there, that I became a little discouraged. So I decided to take a trail where I almost never see anyone. It's usually deserted, because it has a lot of very steep hills. Most people like the easier paths. I figured I would get some good pictures here without being interrupted. Boy was I wrong!

Even this trail was full of people! Just in front of me there was a man and a woman, and behind me there were people with little kids. If you look closely at the center of the photo below, you can just make out the man that was in front. I really didn't want to be disturbed, and I didn't want to disturb them with my picture taking.

My mood was quickly going bad. I really didn't want to be out here with all of these people interrupting my solitude. I wanted to take my pictures in peace. I wanted to see wild animals. How could I do that with all of these people surrounding me? Grrr. I had to get away! But then I started to realize something...

I realized that this wasn't a bad thing that was happening. These people were out enjoying nature! This was what I wanted. I started this blog so I could tell people to go out and see nature. I wanted them to know how great it could be, and here they were. Them being here wasn't bad, it was wonderful!

I started to remember my past encounters with other people on these trails. Others are always friendly out here. They almost always have a smile and a greeting for me. It had always been a pleasant experience when someone would stop and we would have a good conversation.

We would share our experiences of the day out here, and then depart feeling a little happier to get the thoughts of another nature lover. Giving and taking stories and advice from each other. Sometimes those were the highlight of my day. How could I have forgotten so quickly?

I'll remember this from now on. I have helped people out there, and in turn been helped by others. That's what this is all about. And I am truly thankful for every encounter I've had with other people on these trails. It's them and you that really make this all so fun for me. I think this is something for me to think of, especially on a day like this. I hope this turned out to be a nice positive message.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Almost Wordless

I've seen a few other blogs with an idea that I thought was interesting, and might be good to try. They called it Wordless Wednesday. This post is of course not totally wordless, but I figured I'd try it out, or at least something similar.

I decided to bring you some pictures of a few of the hiking trails that I travel. Instead of a story for each one, I thought I'd just give you more photos than usual. These pictures were taken just a few days ago. They're not spectacular, but they're what I see when I go hiking. So let's see how this almost Wordless Wednesday works out.

What do you think? Is this Wordless Wednesday thing a good idea, or maybe not so good? Do you want this every once in a while, or should I go ahead and talk? I would really appreciate some honest opinions on this. I won't be offended either way. This is just an experiment so far.

See you tomorrow with a few more words than this!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Waterfall Fantasy

I've always been fascinated by waterfalls. I like to look at pictures of waterfalls, and I like to use them as my computer's desktop background. There's just something about all of that rushing water that gives me a good feeling. I really don't know what it is. I guess maybe it's because a waterfall is such a huge part of nature.

The only problem is that I don't think I've ever seen a real waterfall. I've seen photos and video of them, but never a real up close waterfall. Here in Michigan we have one of the largest fresh water supplies on earth. And the Detroit River, where I'm closest to, is one of the largest rivers in the world. But the land around me is mostly flat, so that means maybe no waterfalls.

With all of this water around me, I figured there must be some waterfalls somewhere in Michigan. I live just outside of the city, so I haven't seen that many places where a waterfall can exist. Recently I decided to start searching for waterfalls that might be near me. I really haven't had much luck, but now by accident, maybe I finally found one.

I was on one of my typical hiking journeys, just being The Everyday Adventurer, when I walked over a bridge and heard the sound of rushing water. Up until then I've never heard that sound, even with all of the water photos I have on this site. Of course I had to investigate.

The sound was coming from a place that was pretty far off the trail. It was a place that was hidden by a steep slope, so I never went in that direction before. This time I climbed down the slope and headed straight for the sound. I had to pick my way through some pretty dense forest. It wasn't very easy to make it through, but as you can see by the pictures I have here, I found what I was looking for.

But wait a minute, is it really a waterfall? Maybe. Maybe not. If you look closely, you might be able to understand the actual size of my waterfall. If I was an ant, this would be a mighty waterfall, but a person could almost stomp this one out of existence.

Actually, it's probably about three feet high. I'm not sure if that would count as a real waterfall. This is in a creek that I followed. Maybe someday it will form into an undisputed huge waterfall, but for now it's probably just a noisy section of a hidden creek in the middle of the forest.

Now that I'm really looking for things like waterfalls, I'm sure I'll find a real waterfall one of these times. Until then I think I found something that's kind of close. What do you think? Does this count as a real waterfall, or is it just my own waterfall fantasy?

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Monday, November 24, 2008

I Saw A Huge Wasp Nest

One of the fun things about hiking is the interesting things you might find on your journey. The best thing to do is look everywhere you can. You do this for two reasons. One is for your own safety. You don't want to fall or step on the wrong thing, and injure yourself.

The other reason is for what I started to say before. The interesting things to see. I was walking along one of the nature trails, and I happened to look up in one of the trees, and I saw something special. It was beginning to get dark outside so it wasn't really easy to see, but I still saw it.

It was the wasp nest in my picture here. This thing was very high up in the tree. It was about the same size as a basketball. When I saw it I was actually looking for bird's nests, so something like this stood right out for me. Since there are no leaves left on the trees I saw it quite clearly.

The only problem was that the sky was darkening, and the nest was the very same color as the trees bark. I read that wasps make these nests out of the bark of a tree, and turn it into a kind of paper. It forms layers that get bigger and bigger as they add more on.

This wasp colony must be huge! I'm glad it was so cold out, I really don't want to be around a bunch of wasps. Most people know they'll sting you if you bother them. I'm sure they were probably in there dormant for the winter. When spring comes around, this nest will probably be literally buzzing with activity.

I took a few pictures of this nest to try to get a good one. It might be easier to see if it was brighter outside, but who knows when I'll be back this way. I gotta get 'em while I can. Looking at the size of this nest, I wonder how many thousand wasps live in there. It was just another unique thing I saw on today's everyday adventure. I wonder what's next...

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Duck Of A Different Color

Yesterday I told the story of the Runaway Ducks. When I was taking pictures of them, they kept swimming away from me. It's maybe not that unusual for that to happen, but for me it is. Any other time I remember seeing ducks they were a lot more friendly towards me. Some even swam over to beg for food. Not this time.

Even though my poor little heart was broken by these antisocial ducks, I saw something quite unusual. Well, for me it was unusual. I saw a male Mallard duck with very white feathers. Most times those feathers are light gray. I never saw one like it before. I knew when I saw it that I had to share at least one photo of it with others.

This particular duck was on the other side of the bridge I was standing on, from the other ducks. It was in a small group of about five. The section of the pond there is much smaller than the other sections, but there are a lot of plants growing there. That gives the ducks more places to hide from snoopy Duckarazzi(thanks Kruel!) like me.

Hiding is exactly what they were doing. When I tried to get any pictures of this group, they swam straight for cover. I still got some though, and the best is right here for all to see. In the photo above, you can see that he stands out from the rest. Males(drakes) are more colorful than females(ducks), but he is something special.

While I really like the white one, I like all of the others too. It's just that I've seen several of the grayer ones. Here's a typical one, from the same day, with gray feathers. You can see that it's beautiful in it's own right. The picture is a little on the dark side, so you can't really see the colorful green head.

Even the brown females are very beautiful. The brown ones were the first ducks I ever got any photos of. It was quite a while before I ever even saw any males. But now I can usually look around and see a drake and a duck paired up swimming side by side, like in my Lost In Time post. It must be love.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Runaway Ducks

I was visiting my favorite pond, and I saw that there were more ducks swimming there. Of course I decided that I had to take a few pictures. I must have about two dozen photos of these ducks. On my way there I took several, and on my way back I got even more.

This pond is near the back of Woodland Hills Nature Park. I pass by it every time I go to the far back of the park. It's one of the best sights to see when I'm hiking anywhere. I always get to see it twice, because I come back past it on my way back to the front. I've featured it on several of my posts now.

I love animals, and I love to see wild animals on my everyday adventures. If I get a chance I will get pictures of them, so all of you can see them too. Sharing is a wonderful thing. Whenever I see ducks I get pictures. I've been lucky to see them in some of my favorite places.

I think ducks are some of my favorite animals. Ever since I was a kid I've always liked them. I like the way they look for some reason. Their duck bill is a memorable thing. Any other animal with a beak that is shaped like this is compared to a duck. The quack sound that a duck makes is just a delight to hear. These in my pictures were very talkative today. I loved it!

When I was a kid, I always thought of the snowy white ducks, like the cartoon character Donald. I always saw Daffy, but I never considered the darker ducks for some reason. That's weird. I always thought Daffy was funnier than Donald, but I liked Donald's voice better. I guess most people did.

But real ducks were always white to me, until I saw a commercial on TV that introduced Mallard Ducks. It was a public service message to show that even though something can look different, those differences weren't a bad thing. Ducks were still ducks. Now I knew about mallards. I'm glad because that seems to be the kind of duck we have here in Michigan.

When I was out here today taking these pictures, I began to notice something though. These ducks were always on the other side of the pond from me. I kept thinking that my timing must be off. It was a curious thing, but I really wanted to get a few closer shots of these beautiful ducks. So I moved very quickly to the side of the pond where last I saw them.

It was then that I realized what was happening. These ducks were running from me! I guess "swimming from me" would be more like it. Every time they knew that I was near, they would quickly swim away! I began to wonder what it was that I did wrong. Ducks usually were pretty friendly around me.

I've even had ducks swim over to me and beg for food. I have pictures of it, but those were some more that have been lost to the past, because I had more things to post here. Maybe I'll put some of those up one day when it's too cold outside for me. I'm not sure. I really like to keep things current.

Anyway, these ducks didn't like me at all today. I decided to test this, so I moved over to another part of the pond, and they did exactly the same thing. I was starting to kind of feel bad. I'm not a bad person. Why didn't the ducks understand that? I loved these ducks, but they didn't love me back! Waah! Come back duckies! I love you!

Just kidding. Each of the photos I have here show that these ducks were running from me. They're taken from different parts of the pond. I got even more pictures. Some of them were better than these, but I wanted to show them from the different places. Every time I got close, they would flee. I guess they wanted some privacy today. So I decided I would leave them in peace, and move along to my next adventure.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

I Thought A Picture Of Falling Snow Was Impossible

I got a photo of falling snow! I tried several times before, but the snowflakes themselves never appeared in the picture. It was easy to tell that there was a snowstorm, but I really wanted to capture the snow in the sky. I began to think it was an impossible task. The camera just didn't seem to be able to see it right.

This time I got it. This was one of the last pictures I took when I was in my uh, desperate flight from the Woodland Hills park during a snowstorm. This was at the last big turn before the home stretch out of the hiking trail. It was just far in enough for some people to need a rest. You can just see a bench in the leftmost edge of the picture.

Those blurry white spots are the snow. If you look closely, you can see that they are at all different distances from me. It was light reflected off of the snowflakes that made them so blurry. I don't remember if I had the flash on or off, so I guess I'll have to find out again at another time.

Next time maybe I'll be able to get an even better photo like this. Hopefully it will be in a better, more controlled situation. Still, I consider this a good accomplishment, because I wanted it so bad. I wanted to know how to do it. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm proud of myself. Of course, it was also a lot of luck too, but I got it. Really, I was just relieved to be out of that little bit of danger right then.

After the last couple of posts showing some dangerous and scary situations, I really wanted to show something positive about my adventure that day. It really was a fun time. I'm also happy to share this picture with everyone. I hope it gives just a little bit of happiness to others. I know there are other photos of falling snow out there, but I didn't take them. Sometimes these are the things that make this all worthwhile.

I'll be back tomorrow.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

How I Made It Past A Fallen Tree Blocking My Path

Yesterday I talked about how I almost got trapped in a snowstorm. I had to hurry out of the park that I was hiking in, because a snowstorm had come out of nowhere. During my flight for freedom there were several things that happened to me. I didn't have room to talk about them yesterday, because I needed to tell the story of my escape. One of those things was finding a tree that had fallen directly in my path when I was trying to get out.

Just after I had calmed my irrational thoughts enough to keep myself injury free, I came upon this big tree that had fallen across the path. As I walked towards it I looked to see how I would get past. I have to say here that these hiking trails aren't normally dangerous at all, but dozens of these trees had been knocked down by the previous storm, and I was right in the middle of a new storm.

This tree was pretty big, and I was in the middle of a forest. Who knows what could happen? I didn't want to end up underneath another big tree, because I didn't get myself out of there. Even though I had to stay calm about the whole thing, I still needed to leave in kind of a hurry. But this huge tree was in the way.

You would think that it would be a simple thing. All I had to do was walk around it. No problem right? Wrong! If you look a little more closely at all of these pictures, you can see that it's pretty impassable. If you look to the left, you can see that the tree still stretches on for just a little way. There are still more trees over there, all spaced very closely together. There is also a lot of debris piled up on that side. Not easy at all.

When you look to the right, you'll see that it's the direction the tree fell from. There are several fallen trees side by side over there. Some of them are piled on top of the others. Just like the other side, there are still the standing trees that are very close together, and debris everywhere. This is all natural for a forest, especially in late fall and winter. As you can see, there was no escape to either side of me.

I had only two options now. I could either turn back, which would do me no good at all, or I could try to climb right through the tree in front of me. Going back meant that I would have to walk all the way to the back of the park, and then come back along the other trail. I was about three quarters of the way out now, so I didn't want to do that. The point was to get out, not go back through the park. Besides, I was trying to minimize my danger, and going back wouldn't do that.

Now my only option was to go forward, right through the tree. The main branches were about waist high, and the rest was a tangled mess. This wasn't going to be easy at all. I approached the tree, and examined it to find the best way through. I decided that I had to climb slowly through these branches, and hope that nothing broke all of a sudden, especially me.

Well, I picked my way through the tree, little by little. I had to be careful and choose where to put my feet on every step. I had to grab these branches to keep my balance, hoping they wouldn't break, making me fall into this mass of tangled branches. It was very slow going, and I made it through without incident. I looked back, completely forgetting to take any more photos from the other side of the tree, and I kept going towards the exit.

When I look back at this whole thing, especially when I saw that I didn't get those other pictures, I realized what a ridiculous situation I had been in. If I had kept my mind clear the whole time, I would never have even thought of this as a flight out of danger. The danger may have been mostly in my mind. I said mostly because there actually was some real danger, but maybe not as much as I exaggerate here.

Then again, if I wasn't in any danger at all, there wouldn't be a story to tell. There was definitely enough for this story. Maybe they could make my flight a movie of the week. Nah, it would probably have to be made into a comedy. One thing it did do was it gave me another great everyday adventure.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How I Almost Got Trapped In A Snowstorm

As I've been showing in my recent posts, we've had our first big snow here in this part of Michigan. The weatherman has been saying that the snow wasn't quite finished, so I didn't think I would be able to go hiking. But today when I got off of work the sun was shining, and the snow looked like it was starting to melt away.

The weather looked fine to me, and I wanted to get a few pictures before the snow was gone. Around here the first snow usually melts away pretty quickly. I really wanted to go hiking and see the first snowfall of the year. This was the first year I had my camera with me, so I decided to do it.

I decided to try Woodland Hills Nature Park, because it's main purpose is for hiking and viewing nature. There aren't ever very many people here, because it's not quite as organized or fancy as some of the other parks, and you feel more like you're miles from civilization here. That's why I love it so much. It's really my favorite park for some of those very reasons.

When I got there I saw exactly what I wanted. It looked like winter. It looks more bleak and dreary in these first two photos than it actually was. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. It was a great combination of winter and good weather. It would make my first true winter hike a good easy one. So I got out of the truck, and made my way into the entrance to the trails.

As I got inside I was happy to see that the snow was still everywhere. As I previously thought, it was a bright sunny day, so the snow had already begun to melt. It was turning into water, and dripping off of every branch. The trails under my feet were wet and muddy. The old leaves were still there, but they were quickly being ground into the mud.

I saw so many interesting things on my way to the back, that I can't show them all here. Maybe I'll feature some of them in my upcoming posts. There were really some great sights, and the wintery smells were something amazing. In the winter the oxygen level seems to go up, and the air smells so crisp and clean. I always loved that smell. It makes me forget that it's so cold outside.

It's funny how different this place looked just one week ago. These trees were quickly losing their leaves, but they still had a generous amount of yellow ones still on them. After the snowstorm, from the other day, almost all of the leaves are now gone. As I mentioned before, the leaves on the ground that made such a wonderful carpet before, seem to be rotting away now as they are ground into mush.

I traveled the entire way to the back, and lingered there for a while. There are always so many things to see there. I had a few specific pictures I wanted to get from there at the pond. I wanted to get a good look at the changes that took place back there. I wasn't disappointed at all!

When I was finally done back there, I began to slowly make my way to the front. I never really want to leave here, and it was such a nice day that it was just as hard to leave as it always is. I thought I would take my time, and see as many things as I could on my way back out. There are actually two ways to get in and out here, so it's different both ways.

As I got away from the pond, I looked up and noticed that the sky had started to cloud over and it was beginning to get dark. I realized we probably would be getting a little more snow later that night. It started to get even darker, and I started to think maybe I had been there longer than I thought. After all, the days are getting shorter. Maybe dusk was coming. They like to close this place at dusk, and there is a gate at the front. They lock it when they close it up. I needed to hurry up!

I started to walk quickly now, because it was getting dark really fast. I had to cut this one short. That's when the snow began to fall. It wasn't much at first, partly because the trees were blocking it from getting down to me. I still stopped here and there to get more photos. Then the snow began to really come down hard!

I abandoned my quest for more pictures and started walking as fast as I could. I really needed to get out of there! A snowstorm wasn't a safe thing to get caught in out there. The wind could knock some of these trees down on me very easily. There were already fallen trees from the last storm throughout the park.

As my mind began to blank, and I started to rush in my effort to get out of there, I remembered some advice for times like this. Don't panic. Slow down and maybe even stop if you have to. Anything to clear your mind so you can think things through. You don't want to injure yourself in your panicky rush to get where you're going. So I slowed myself and my rushing mind.

Now that I had calmed myself down, I had the chance to think things through. I made my way easily through a few obstacles, including a huge tree that had fallen directly onto the path. I even got some great pictures from the rest of my way out, including that tree and something I thought would be impossible to get.

It turned out that I had nothing to worry about at all. I made it out of the trails easily. The gate was still open, and they weren't even waiting there yet. And I left the park safe and sound, with another great everyday adventure.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hiking In The Snow

This is my very first attempt to go hiking in the snow. I didn't get very far, but I got some pictures of it. All of that white mist you see in the air is snow. It was snowing really hard out here! The wind was blowing very hard, and it was probably a bad time to try this. I know I'll be doing it again, it was fun!

When I got out to this park, I saw three other cars there. This isn't a very big nature park. It has a small parking lot, and the nature trails. That's all. Not many people come here at other times, and this wasn't a normal time. Anyway, I saw these three cars, and all that snow coming down, and I thought, "Are these people crazy? Look at all that snow!" Then again, I was out there, so why shouldn't they be there too?

I got out of the truck and looked around. The snow was really coming down! This was just what I was looking for. I was trying to see if I could capture on film exactly what I was seeing. I wanted other people to see a photo of a heavy snow storm. I wasn't sure if there was a real way to get that. Could I show falling snowflakes with this camera? I still don't know.

I made my way to the bigger trail. I really didn't want to go very far today. I just wanted a few pictures. I wasn't really dressed for this cold weather anyway. I was finding that out the hard way just then. When I started walking up the trail, the snowfall suddenly increased greatly. That's when I took this second picture.

I decided then that maybe I should cut this a little shorter than I intended. Before I left the house there wasn't very much snow, but now it was snowing really hard and it was getting colder by the second. So after taking a few more pictures I headed back to the truck.

It seemed like a much longer walk back than it was getting out there. It was now hard to see in front of me, and the wind was blowing so hard it made my face hurt. I need to dress a little better for this next time. That ought to teach me to be better prepared for winter from now on. I'll have to buy a cool hiking hat or something. Do they even make stuff like that?

This was actually a pretty good experience. I wanted to test out what it was like to hike in the winter, without going very far yet, and I did that. Next time I'll be able to do more. It's going to be exciting to discover what to do during the winter. I haven't ever actually done any of this in the winter yet, so I don't know what will happen yet. I'm ready for it. Here we go!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

First Snow

It's here already! The first big snow of the year in this area. I was planning on getting more pictures of the geese, but they were gone. So I got a few pictures of their replacement instead. I'll bet the geese don't like this too much!

Last night I was wondering where the geese go to sleep. It was raining yesterday, and I figured they must have to go someplace for shelter. But where does it go? Now it's snowing, and the geese around here don't migrate south as much as they used to. What exactly does a goose do in weather like this? I guess they'll figure it out.

Anyway, this snow is supposed to keep coming for the next few days. As I write this, we've had about an inch of snow so far, and more is coming tomorrow. Fall seems to have ended pretty quickly around here. Maybe this is only temporary. Maybe we're in for a long winter. I guess we'll find out.

Now the question for me is, what do I do now? This will be a big transition for me. I normally go out hiking, and take pictures of nature. Then I come home and write a little bit about it. Will I still be able to do it? I certainly hope so! It might be a little harder to find animals, and maybe a few other things to take pictures of. But just like the geese, I guess I'll figure it out.

I'll be back again tomorrow!

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dizzy Bird Chaser

Whenever I'm hiking on the nature trails, I always try to get some pictures of birds. Most of the time I'm left feeling pretty foolish. I'll spin around in circles making myself dizzy trying to keep up with a bird. I'm not sure why I try so hard. I'm not particularly interested in birds. The only explanation is that they're part of nature, and also a challenge for me.

The bigger birds like ducks and geese have been easy. They're slower, and very sociable. They'll walk right up and pose for you, if you have food. But the smaller perching type birds have always been a problem for me. I come home with about five blurry pictures every time I go hiking. All because I was chasing birds.

This last time I was at Heritage Park I was walking through an area where birds like to gather. I always walk very slowly through there with the hope that I might get lucky. This time the place was swarming with birds. I saw them flying from branch to branch, and tree to tree. I knew this was my best chance so far!

I stopped and watched until I could see something even a little bit clearly. I attempted to get one in flight, but I always have trouble getting the camera ready for that. The trees here were very dense and it was hard to see through the branches. That wouldn't discourage me though. It never does.

Enough of this! As you can see, I got a few photos that turned out okay. They're not the best in the world, but for me they're maybe my best so far. These two pictures aren't the same bird. There were dozens of these birds gathered in these trees. It made it pretty easy for me.

I couldn't really see them that clearly when I was there. Also, as I said before, I'm not much of a birdwatcher, so I couldn't tell what kind of bird they are. So I decided to do a little bit of research, and now I know just what kind of birds they are.

These birds are American Robins. I always knew that robins had a red colored breast, and were otherwise dark, but I didn't know anything else. On the birds in my pictures there are these white rings around the eyes. I found out that is one of the identifying marks of an American Robin. I never knew that. They are also the state bird of my home state of Michigan, which I did know.

So there you have it. That's all the information I'll give about these birds here, but I'm sure anyone can find more by searching the web. I'm just excited about getting the pictures and finding out what kind of birds they are. It was a fun part of one of my everyday adventures. Seeing something different, and accomplishing something new are some of the things that make life good. It may not be much, but little things like this can leave you in a good mood, especially if you do them every day.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Geese, Rain, And Dead Batteries

For the last two days these geese have been gathering in my backyard, and this is the only picture I have of them. Yesterday I was too busy, and I had to leave for a while. I didn't get back until after dark. I wanted some pictures of these birds, and I knew they would be around for a few days.

Today it was raining, but when I looked out there I saw that the flock had grown to maybe forty geese. Even though I had to leave, I figured I should probably get a few pictures to show how many there were. I was watching them out there, and they seemed to be having a good time. Some were wandering around, some were eating something in the grass, and some were even laying down to rest. They seemed completely oblivious to the downpour!

I watched them there like this for a minute, and then decided to go out there. I went out in the rain trying to decide where the best place to be was. The geese didn't seem to mind me being there, they never do, so I walked right into the middle of this big flock of geese. I raised my camera to start taking pictures, and then disaster struck!

I got exactly one picture and my camera battery went completely dead. The camera shut itself off. I tried to turn the camera back on, but it did no good. All I got was a message that said to change the batteries. I stupidly looked at the battery compartment, and thought about changing them. I began to search my pockets for more, but then I remembered that they were back in the house.

As I realized all of this, it dawned on me that I was going to attempt to change my camera batteries in the middle of the pouring rain. I was in such a hurry that I wasn't thinking straight at all. So I decided that maybe I should put the camera away for today. I was in a hurry to leave anyway, so I ended up with just this one lone picture of the geese.

After I came back home, I looked at my camera sitting there on the table, and remembered my picture. I at least had this one. Now you do too. The only picture from a rainy day of geese and dead batteries.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Bridge At The Edge Of The Pond

Today I thought I would show a picture of some of the pond, from the back of the park. I can't remember if I ever showed a picture from here yet. Even if I did, it was in the summer, and everything looked completely different to me from here. If I didn't, I guess I'll have to correct that one of these times.

Anyway, this is the part of the pond that's on the hiking trail side. I'm on a section of trail that loops around behind me, and goes further to the back of the park, and into the forest. I've seen deer and even snakes back there. I have a few pictures of some of them posted on this site. But across the pond from me is something that I love.

It's that old bridge over there. Today from here it looks old and broken down to me. It wasn't made to look modern and shiny or anything. It was made to blend in with the surrounding nature. It's actually not that old, but today it looks like it's been there forever.

I guess it is blending in, because the surrounding forest looks old and vast. You can see the brown and gray colors of the fall all over everything. The trees are dropping their leaves at a very quick pace now. The plants directly in front of me are tall and gray. From here the pond looks completely still.

This whole scene gives me a feeling of peace and the thought that I'm completely alone. The bridge and the other side aren't actually as close as they look in this picture. I zoomed the camera in to give a better look at the bridge. I take these pictures not knowing what I might use here, then I choose the ones I like.

Maybe I'll choose a picture because I like the way it looks. I might choose one because something interesting happened at the time I took it. The pictures I put here go from really good to really bad. Sometimes I'll put up bad ones because something exceptional happened at that time, and they are the best that I had. They're part of the story, and it couldn't be told properly without these bad pictures.

The same goes for the good ones sometimes, but I guess I don't feel the need to explain myself at those times. Who needs to say, "Be careful when you look at this picture, the sight of it might dazzle you."? Not me, but sometimes I do anyway. It's my humble side coming out.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the bridge and the pond. But I think I ran out out of room while I was being proud of myself. So I'll end this here saying, that bridge is one of my favorite places to be. I really like bridges. It doesn't matter if I'm alone or not, I really like it out here.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lost In Time

I said a few days ago that in the past some of the good things I see out in nature are never put here, because I don't have a big story to go along with it. Sometimes as the days go by, I move forward to another everyday adventure and certain things get lost in the past. These pictures from the far side of the pond almost became one of those things.

I wanted to put these pictures up yesterday, but I try to limit the number of pictures I put up in each post. Even though I hope to do this for a very long time, I have limited space for these pictures. So I'm trying to make it last for a while. I actually have quite a bit left, but I don't want to push it. It's best to plan for the future.

Anyway, I found these ducks swimming around at the far side of the pond. I guess I gave a review yesterday, but there were other things to talk about then. When I was on the official trail and looking at the near side of the pond, I was a little disappointed to see no ducks swimming there.

It was here at the far side that I found them, of course. Before I got here I had no idea what I would find. I always like seeing ducks or geese anywhere I find them. I've seen them in several places, and I have some excellent duck photos that have so far been lost to the past. They're some of my best pictures. I really intended to put them here. But that was right before the visible changes of the fall happened, and I like to keep this blog up with time.

Here's a picture of a male and female duck swimming together. The male is the one with the green head. I really liked this picture, and I wanted to make sure others got to see it. I've been trying to get some of the things like this on here before it's too late. I've actually been out a few more times since then, and something good will unfortunately have to be forgotten.

I always feel bad when I have to skip a few things here and there, but actually it might be a good thing. It means that I'm doing a lot of things, and that's always been what I really wanted. I feel like this has been filling my time with the things that I enjoy.

And even though I make it look like I'm all alone out here, I actually meet a lot of different people along the way. When people are on these trails they tend to be quite a bit more friendly for some reason. It's almost like being in a small town.

If you ever notice, people in a city always rush by you when you see them. It's like they want nothing to do with you. In a small town you are almost always greeted when you walk by. Everybody is friendly. It's like that out here. Maybe it's the fact that people feel like they have a little more space. It must make them happier. You could be happier too.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What's On The Other Side?

Yesterday I told you of a new path to the other side of the pond that I found. The pond is separated into two parts by some tall water plants. I've never been to the other side until now when this new path was revealed. This new path is only visible when the weather gets colder, and the growth of the weeds there is down. I left you as I took my first steps towards the other side, with a promise to show you what I found. Well here is some of it.

The trail is on the side of a slope going down to the pond, so I can see why it wasn't in use, and why it wasn't maintained. The people that maintain the trails in the park usually try to block this area off, probably for everyone's safety. Nice level paths are obviously much easier for most people. I don't let things like that stop me.

As I got over to the other side of the pond, I saw that this new section was almost as big as the one that I normally see. It's always great to see something new. In the top picture you can see exactly what I saw when I got close enough for the whole scene to reveal itself to me. If you look at the middle of the far end, you can see birds swimming around over there.

Here's a closer look at some of the birds. They're ducks! These two were actually right beside me when I took the picture you see at the top. I have several pictures of these two ducks like this one. I chose to show you this picture because I like the way the duck on the left lifted it's leg for a nice scratch.

I also kind of liked the log that they're on. It has a few interesting protrusions. That tallest one reminded me of a cactus. It's the kind of thing I don't usually point out for some reason. Little details like this are some of the things that make going out to these places worthwhile.

If you take a closer look at it, you can see that something has been whittling at it. Maybe one of these ducks? I wish I knew. The mystery to what has been shaping this thing is kind of intriguing all by itself.

Here is the view from all the way on the other side of the pond from where I started. The official path is pretty far from here. As I said yesterday, I really wasn't supposed to be here. Does this make me a daring rule breaker? Maybe, but I'm not the one that made the path. There was someone else here first. If you click on this picture, you can actually see some very interesting details.

For instance, if you look over to the right you can see a couple of ducks swimming out towards the middle of the pond. A little further away you can see the ducks and the log from the earlier picture. This should give you an idea where I am and where I came from.

A little higher up from the center of the photograph, you can see where the two sections of the pond come together. You can actually see a little of the other side of the pond from here. Even further, if you look very close, you can see the bridge on the path, and there are a couple of people walking on it.

The most interesting thing for me though, is the furthest away. Look clear in the back and you can see buildings in the distance. I'm obviously not a hundred miles from civilization here, and that's why it's so easy to have these adventures every day. It should give some good evidence that anyone can try this. This isn't necessarily about being a daredevil or something. It's about having a good time with something that most people don't even know is there.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A New Discovery At The Pond

I found one of the great benefits of fall today! There is a pond at the back of the Woodland Hills Nature Park, where I like to go hiking sometimes. I like to go back there and look out at it from every direction I can. Now I found something completely new.

If you look toward the top of the picture, you'll see that there is another section of the pond. Right in front of me is a small path leading right to it. During the summer, and the first part of fall, this path didn't exist, because there were all of these weeds growing there. In fact, you couldn't see the other section of the pond very well either.

I've never seen that other end of this pond up close before. It was always inaccessible. There wasn't a path to it, and I couldn't find any other way to get over there. And I really didn't want to try to wade through some head high weeds to get there. So every other time I came here, I stayed on this side of the pond wondering what might be over there.

There are clear defined trails in these nature parks that I go to, and I recommend that if you go to a place like this that you keep to the trails. There are things like poison ivy and snakes beside some of these paths. Even though I didn't think I should go, that new little path in front of me was calling my name, begging me to follow.

I think it was maybe a foolish move to go, but I have always wanted to know what was over there. What does it look like over there? What does it feel like to stand on the other side of the pond, and look back to the place I came from? I needed to see what the pond was like over there.

So I looked around to make sure no official type people were anywhere near, and I took my first step in that direction. After all, I'm The Everyday Adventurer, and this was a new adventure wasn't it? When I got there, I did see something. Tomorrow I'll be back to show you what it was.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Memories Of Fallen Leaves

A lot of times while I'm out hiking on one of my everyday adventures, I'll take pictures of just the ground in front of me. When I get back home, I don't really know what to do with these pictures other than enjoy them myself. I use every picture I take as random desktop wallpaper for my computer.

I'm never sure if anyone else would want these, so I never put them on this site. There's not always a story I can tell for these pictures, so I'm the only one who gets to see them. I decided today to show a few that fit that pretty well.

These three photos I show here are some I decided to take of the leaves on the path in front of me. At the time I thought they would make good desktop wallpaper, but I never intended to put them here. But then I figured, why not? So now these are here for everyone to see.

Anyone who wants these can go ahead and use them for their own wallpaper. I thought they were a good example of what fall looks like. They are basically pictures of the same area of leaves, with the camera zoomed differently.

Everything in nature is unique, and when you leave here, you might never see these again. After I took these pictures, I stepped on this very spot as I moved on my way to something new. Of course this changed the way this spot looked forever. There may have been dozens of people that went through here after me.

Animals have come through here and changed the look of this area some more. Even the wind and the rain, and more fallen leaves have changed this site. Time has taken these leaves and began to turn them to dust. Never to be seen again. Gone.

These are not only pictures of leaves on the floor of the forest. These pictures have captured a moment in time that will never come again. I wonder if that's why we value pictures so much. We look at them and have fond memories that we know we can never exactly have again.

We can do the exact same thing we did before, but we all know when we try, that it never turns out quite the same. That first time is always the special one. Always unique. And we can never quite do it again.

This is why I always say to try different things every day. You'll have so many special memories that the other lost experiences from the past won't hurt so much when you try to recapture them. Plus it just makes for a more exciting and special life. Then you can look back on your favorite pictures, and think fondly of them, knowing that you have more adventures yet to come.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Dog Whisperer

I was watching an episode of The Dog Whisperer today, when I noticed something interesting. Cesar Millan, the star of the show, was using very similar techniques to get close to a nervous dog, that I use to get close to wild animals. I wrote a few posts about how to do this, not too long ago. And I'll leave links to them at the end of this post, as well as a few links for information about The Dog Whisperer.

I've been watching the show, for a little while now, whenever I see that it's on. I have to say that I've been very impressed. It's an amazing show, and he knows a great deal about dogs. I learn something new with every episode that I watch. I don't usually think highly enough of a TV show to say anything about it here, but there are a few like this one that are exceptional.

I usually only talk about things I find out in nature, but a show like this goes hand in hand with everything I try to put across here. I love dogs very much, and I appreciate seeing someone who has that much knowledge about them. Then when I see that person using similar techniques on animals that I do, it validates for me what I'm doing here. It helps me believe I'm on the right track, and doing something right.

Anyone who's interested in animals at all should give his show a try, if you haven't been watching already. It's been one of my favorite TV shows, and I think it can become one of yours too. I think you can learn some very helpful things if you have a dog. Now go and read my "10 Tips To Get Close To A Deer", and then watch a few of his episodes. You'll see some very similar things there.

The Dog Whisperer

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pictures Of A Hidden Snake

Yesterday I decided to go on a quick hike along one of the nature trails after work. It's something I do rather frequently. It's one of my main sources of these stories and photos. It's a good way to forget my troubles from a full day of work.

Well, when I got there, I saw a man with two little kids. During the fall there are a lot more people out on these trails, looking at the changing colors. They were standing around looking at different things at the beginning of the trail. I thought nothing of it as I entered the trail and began to get my camera ready.

As soon as I started, they decided there was no better time to do the same. I have absolutely nothing against people and their kids, but I didn't want any company just right then. Especially two yelling, screaming little kids running in front of and behind me, while I was trying to get some pictures of nature scenery.

I thought about stopping to let them pass me, but then they slowed way down. I couldn't win! So I hurried up ahead hoping they would stay back there. I knew a place they wouldn't follow, but I had to get there before they saw me, and became curious. Please, any other time but this one. I wanted to be alone.

As I hurried down the trail, I saw a flash of movement under the fallen leaves at the edge of the trail. Instinctively I stopped to take a closer look, and maybe get a picture of whatever was moving. I figured it was maybe a rodent of some sort. Boy was I wrong!

It was the garter snake you see in these two pictures. I've seen snakes before, but I've never seen this one. I moved closer as stealthily as I could so as not to scare this creature away. It really wasn't having any of it. It did a good job of hiding. But not good enough.

I took the best pictures I could get, but the snake did have a good hiding place. Even so, I liked these two photos of this new garter snake. They show what you'll normally see when you are trying to get close to an animal when it doesn't want you there. I was hoping to get better shots, but these maybe show the reality of a typical animal sighting a little bit better.

As I began to take a few more pictures, I heard the sound of running footsteps and the excited laughter of the two little kids coming up behind me. I figured it was time to leave, for the safety of this snake, and so I could get to my hiding place further down the path, before they saw me. Kids are sometimes way too curious for their own good, or mine.

In the end, I got away safely from the evil little menaces, and I think the snake did too. The whole thing gave me a thought though. I'll have to round up some of the kids in my family, and take them on a quiet tour of these fall trails. They'd have a good time learning about some of these things.

Until tomorrow, The Everyday Adventurer says goodbye, and the snake says ssssssss.

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