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.