Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happily Overwhelmed

Wow, these last few days have been eventful for me. I've seen some amazing sights on the nature trails. I've gone to a few indoor places that were packed with fun and adventure. And I've had some good help on a few things in recent posts. I always try to have an adventure every day, and I was overwhelmed by them yesterday. That's a little more than an everyday adventure, and I have similar plans for today. What a great thing! This promises to give me some very good things to put here as soon as I collect myself.

While I float back down to earth, take a look at this good source of information.
WiseAcre Gardens

I'm Learning. Are You?

I have to say, when I started this website and became The Everyday Adventurer, I didn't fully realize what would happen. It truly has become an everyday adventure for me. I never expected to learn so much about different plants and animals. When I had the idea for the site, I said I didn't want to get into identifying these things. I didn't know at the time how interesting it would become to learn about these things. I always say I like to learn new things, and now I am doing that in new and interesting ways. This whole thing started as a quest for knowledge and wisdom, and I believe I am gaining some of both. I am slowly branching out from only nature into many other things. The future holds new and more exciting adventures, and I hope to learn even more as I go on. I also believe my writing is steadily improving, so this place can become more enjoyable and interesting to the readers. I hope that anyone reading this will explore this site further, and follow me on my everyday adventures. You might learn something yourself. Then, who knows? Maybe you'll have ideas for your own adventures. They don't have to be every day, but just enough to make you a happier person. After looking around, leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Zombie People

A lot of the people I see most days, don't seem to have very good imaginations. Why don't they seem to care about things? Rational or complex thought seems to elude them. They like to complain and argue with each other, but it's almost always about meaningless things. Things that shouldn't matter, they cling to the most. A lot of them are hooked on some illegal substance, and they like it. I've seen people that are proud to be stupid, and they brag about it. People at work look for ways of avoiding their job, and getting out of doing anything asked of them. Any difficult task seems to elude their minds. If it is physically or mentally difficult, they avoid it at all costs. I understand not wanting to be cheated or overworked, but most of these tasks are part of their jobs. People like this often seem to be rewarded for their laziness of mind and body. I've seen intelligent, hardworking people punished for their skill and positive attitudes. These rational intelligent people are greatly outnumbered by the stupid ones. When they do a good job they are not rewarded; they are just ordered to do more. Meanwhile the slack wits are given more and more reward. Something just seems wrong here. How is an intelligent person motivated to go on in an environment like this. Pride and confidence in yourself is a difficult thing to maintain when you see that there is no reward or benefit for you. Others seem to only see these traits as something to take advantage of. The only thing to do for the intelligent person, is to try to keep searching for their own path to the rewards they seek, and to maintain faith in themselves. Somewhere there must be a place where these backwards rules don't exist. Anyone who knows this place, leave a comment.

White Baneberry

This plant is White Baneberry(Actaea pachypoda). I've seen a lot of different plants with berries on my travels as The Everyday Adventurer, but these are the first I've seen that are colored white. They are attractive plants, and look unique to me. They are also called Doll's Eyes, because they look like old doll's eyes. Some of them deceptively look rather tasty, but these white ones look rather unappetizing. As I've said before, don't eat anything you find in nature. You never know what might be poisonous. These are a fine example. Even though they look bad tasting to me, maybe someone else might disagree. These are very poisonous, which is why they are named baneberry. The berries are the most poisonous part of the plant. Baneberry plants contain cardiogenic toxins that can have a sedative effect on the human heart. Eating these berries can lead to cardiac arrest and death. These plants are harmless to birds, their primary seed disperser. In short, a good example of look but don't touch.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Here And Now

"Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves - or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth."

-Ayn Rand

Scary Looking Insects

I was taking pictures of this plant, and this scary looking insect came flying over. It backed me up a bit, but since I'm The Everyday Adventurer, I decided to take pictures of it. Pretty brave of me, wouldn't you say? It looks like a wasp of some kind. But I did some research, and now I'm not so sure. I found out it might be something called a Stem Sawfly(Cephidae). They are either related to, or are a type of wasp; the information I found wasn't clear. There wasn't a lot of information on these, but everything I read says they are non-aggressive, and they don't have stingers. It also might be a Great Black Wasp which is also non-aggressive. This bug in the picture was about one inch long, so you can see why I was cautious. Even if I think it can't hurt me, I'll show it some respect just in case. These insects and their larvae bore holes in plants, which is what this one might just be doing. As I was watching this one, two more flew over. I watched them all for about a minute, and then focused my attention back on the plant. The plant appears to be White Baneberry, but I'll save more information about that for another time.

WiseAcre from WiseAcre Gardens pointed out that there are actually two plants there. The plant the Stem Sawfly is on is Wild Clematis. He identified that right away for me. Check out the link for his excellent pictures of more. The plant I thought was Baneberry, I think is actually Gray Dogwood. I'll have a post up about that soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Coward

"A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit."

-Thomas Jefferson

Invasion Of The Pod Plants?

This milkweed plant is the only one I have seen as The Everyday Adventurer. I found it on the River trail at Heritage Park. It's the only one I can find, though I'm sure there are plenty more around. Since I was a kid, I thought milkweed and cattails were some of the coolest plants. I remember examining these pods inside and out. They're some of the strangest things I've ever seen.

This particular plant is called Common Milkweed. This is the primary food for many different insects, and a major food source for many others. Monarch Butterflies, Milkweed Leaf Beetles, and Milkweed Bugs only eat milkweed, and couldn't survive without it. The green pods are actually the fruit of the milkweed plants. After the pods turn brown, they burst open and let out fluffy seeds. The seeds are caught by the wind to float through the air and spread more plants.

Something I always wondered was, why is it called milkweed? Where is the milk? Well, when the plant is broken open, a milky sap comes out. Don't eat this plant because the sap is poisonous. It's a poison called Cardiac Glycosides. Some animals can eat it but humans can't. When a monarch butterfly caterpillar eats the milkweed leaves, it absorbs the poison into it's body, and it becomes poisonous to predators. Even though it's poisonous to eat the milkweed, the fluffy seeds are sometimes used as stuffing for life jackets.

I am just guessing here, but maybe milkweed pods were the inspiration for the story "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers." If you're not familiar with it; it's about pods that came from seeds that drifted through space for years, and finally landed on earth. Once on earth, the pods grow duplicates of humans inside, in an evil plot to replace the human race. If you haven't seen the movie, give it a try, it's a good story.

So if you ever see a truckload of giant milkweed pods, we're all doomed!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Saw A Little Chipmunk

There was a day about two months ago that I tried my best to get a picture of a chipmunk that was playing on the nature trail. I was new to being The Everyday Adventurer and new to my camera. I went home and excitedly told a small story of how I saw a chipmunk and almost got a picture of it. I hadn't gotten any wildlife pictures yet, and that was the closest I had come at that time. It was a bittersweet moment, as I was disappointed that I was too slow, but as I said before ultimately excited at the close call. Since then, I've been waiting and watching for my chance to redeem myself with a nice little picture of a chipmunk. Today I am a king! Here is my first picture of a chipmunk! I got this very close to where I saw that first elusive chipmunk. I would bet they're closely related to each other. This little guy was faster than the first one, but now I'm an experienced everyday adventurer, and I was just that much faster. He didn't come very far out onto the nature trail, but I spotted him and got this picture anyway.

A chipmunk is a squirrel-like rodent species of the genus Tamias in the family Sciuridae. You can identify them by the light colored stripes running down their backs. They are sometimes known as "striped squirrels" or "ground squirrels". They are known for storing food in their mouths until their cheeks bulge out. When my sister was very young, her cheeks used to puff out, and people would call her "chipmunk cheeks". It was sometimes an amusing sight to see this tiny little girl with the puffy cheeks. She actually did resemble a chipmunk. I don't remember any stripes though. There was a music group called Alvin and the Chipmunks that had a few hit songs. They eventually became cartoon characters with several popular cartoons. One of the last used to be one I liked to watch.

This is, so far, the best picture I was able to get. I tried to take more, but the little guy ran into the forest in spite of my best efforts to be still and quiet. If he would have just waited a few seconds more!

Down The Dark Path

As I stepped off the bridge, I knew this place was like another world. Back from where I came, it was a bright and sunny day. Here, it was as if night had fallen. Right then, I missed the sound of the singing birds.

There were birds here, but the sounds that came from these were strange and unpleasant. The green grass was now gone, and I was left with a dark, damp, dirt path. The warmth in the air was gone here, and I could smell the damp earth and the decay of the dead plants.

Ahead of me was an old rotted tree trunk lying across the path to block the way. It was like an eerie omen of things to come, and a warning not to go on. I thought to myself, "I'm the Everyday Adventurer, why should I turn back now?"

Suddenly, out of the quiet darkness came what sounded like a giant cricket. I stopped to listen, and realized it was just another strange bird high in the trees. After identifying the weird sound, I moved forward and stepped over the fallen tree and began to head down this dark path.

Hey you! Yes you, reading this. If you want to find out what happened next, find this path for yourself. You'll find something on it you've never seen before. It's definitely an interesting experience. But before you go, make a comment about what you've read here. Let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bridge To Another World

I found the trail to get to this bridge by accident. It's just to the side of one of the main trails. I almost went past it myself, but I was oddly attracted to it. I've watched as every other person walked right on by. The trail looks insignificant, but just around a corner I found the bridge. This is such a solitary place. I can be here and feel completely safe and free from any others. When you cross the bridge, you move into another world altogether. The trail there is small and dark. This is the trail that leads to the hidden river I've shown here before. If you find this bridge you're lucky. If you find the hidden river you're an everyday adventurer. I won't tell you where it is. See if you can find it.

Flight Of The Bumblebee

I mentioned in the post about the dragonflies, that I had been taking pictures of bumblebees. I meant to talk about the bees first but it didn't work out that way. Anyway, here's one of them. It was kind of hard to get a picture of any of them because they were moving around so much. I said before that there were about half a dozen of them, but there were probably quite a bit more. These bumblebees were flying all around me. The one in this picture landed on this flowering plant, obviously looking for pollen. These purple plants were all over this field and so were the bumblebees. Here's something from Wikipedia:

Bumblebee from Wikipedia

A bumblebee (or bumble bee) is any member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae; there are over 250 known species primarily occurring in the Northern Hemisphere.

Bumblebees are social insects that are characterized by black and yellow body hairs, often in bands. However, some species have orange or red on their bodies, or may be entirely black[1]. Another obvious (but not unique) characteristic is the soft nature of the hair (long, branched setae), called pile, that covers their entire body, making them appear and feel fuzzy. They are best distinguished from similarly large, fuzzy bees by the form of the female hind leg, which is modified to form a corbicula; a shiny concave surface that is bare, but surrounded by a fringe of hairs used to transport pollen (in similar bees, the hind leg is completely hairy, and pollen grains are wedged into the hairs for transport).

Like their relatives the honey bees, bumblebees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young.


According to 20th century folklore, the laws of aerodynamics prove that the bumblebee should be incapable of flight, as it does not have the capacity (in terms of wing size or beat per second) to achieve flight with the degree of wing loading necessary. Not being aware of scientists 'proving' it cannot fly, the bumblebee succeeds under "the power of its own ignorance".[23] The origin of this myth has been difficult to pin down with any certainty. John McMasters recounted an anecdote about an unnamed Swiss aerodynamicist at a dinner party who performed some rough calculations and concluded, presumably in jest, that according to the equations, bumblebees cannot fly.[24] In later years McMasters has backed away from this origin, suggesting that there could be multiple sources, and that the earliest he has found was a reference in the 1934 French book Le vol des insectes by M. Magnan. Magnan is reported to have written that he and a M. Saint-Lague had applied the equations of air resistance to insects and found that their flight was impossible, but that "One shouldn't be surprised that the results of the calculations don't square with reality".[25]

It is believed that the calculations which purported to show that bumblebees cannot fly are based upon a simplified linear treatment of oscillating aerofoils. The method assumes small amplitude oscillations without flow separation. This ignores the effect of dynamic stall, an airflow separation inducing a large vortex above the wing, which briefly produces several times the lift of the aerofoil in regular flight. More sophisticated aerodynamic analysis shows that the bumblebee can fly because its wings encounter dynamic stall in every oscillation cycle. [26]

I always heard this bumblebee myth and thought it was generally accepted reality. I learn something new with every new everyday adventure.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Adventurer Everyday

As I go on these adventures every day, I look for things that other people might not have thought of. When I find something new I go see if there is anything of interest there. Who knows? I might find my new favorite thing. Well, I started thinking about it, and I realized that maybe other people have had some good local adventures of their own. Maybe things I'd pass by and not see. So I decided to take a few requests. If anybody has an everyday adventure they want to see here, leave a comment below describing it the best you can. If I go on a suggested adventure, I will take pictures and show them on this site. If I pick yours, I'll be sure to give you credit in the post.

So, make a suggestion in the comments section below. I'm confident somebody must have something fun they'd like to share.


This is amazing! My first really good picture of a dragonfly. I came over this way not expecting much. I was just going to take a few pictures of the Boardwalk Trail. You can see it pretty clearly from here, but you can't get to it. This is a place down below the Scenic Overlook. I haven't seen anything too exciting on the nature trails for a couple of days, so when I came this way I was kind of surprised. I noticed on the flowering plants here that there were about half a dozen bumble bees. I didn't want to pass up a chance to get a few pictures of these. I finished that and started taking the pictures I set out to get. Then this guy flew right in front of me. Usually when that happens they keep right on going, but this one landed on a plant right in front of me and stayed. Almost like it was begging me to take it's picture.

A dragonfly is a type of insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera. It is characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong, transparent wings, and an elongated body. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest.

Dragonflies typically eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants and butterflies. They are therefore valued as predators, since they help control populations of harmful insects. Dragonflies are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic. Adult dragonflies do not bite or sting humans, though nymphs are capable of delivering a painful (though otherwise harmless) bite.

-Dragonfly at Wikipedia

When I see something like this I know I'm having a great everyday adventure. Don't you wish you could too?


Wallpaper, backgrounds, whatever you want to call them. They're the pictures you use for the desktop on your computer. The pictures I post here are free for personal use by anybody. Uh, that means you can use them on your computer for free. Just don't try and sell any of them, they're mine. I took every one of them myself. Don't you like them? Yes, I knew you would. I put them here just so you could use them for wallpaper. I don't always post a picture, but I do most of the time. By this time there's a pretty good collection here, every one a masterpiece. If you use one of them, you'll find yourself whisked away on an amazing adventure such as you've never known before. If you're brave enough to actually go to one of the places in the pictures, you'll have fun like you've never seen. When Alice saw the rabbit in the picture above, she found herself in Wonderland. Where are you right now? I'll bet it's not Wonderland.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Clarenceville Bridge

I don't know what it is, but something made me feel like revisiting the Clarenceville Bridge. I do like bridges. I figured I'd take this little break from nature and look at this again. When I look at it from here, it looks like a giant insect. It's the first time I've seen something like this outside of a cartoon. I'm glad it doesn't move. Let's go up inside the belly of the beast.

From here it's a pretty nice view. I'm walking through a long transparent tunnel. I can see every direction from here. If you were to walk up here, you'd have an amazing adventure just looking around. I can look down and see a truck pass right under me from here. In every direction you can see something different and interesting. Just think, I'm showing this all to you for free. If you were to go here yourself you'd have to pay...nothing. Hmm, still free. I must be doing it wrong.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I like bridges.

Happy Birthday!


Apple Tree

Out of the shadows and into the light. Still here on the same nature trail as the creepy Tree Of Woe, I came out of the darkened forest into the familiar meadow that I always enjoy. The flowers that were blooming so well last time I was here were now all gone.

One thing I noticed though was another tree that didn't seem to be there before. Wow, an apple tree full of small golden apples. It seemed to glow in the sunlight, making it feel like a nice presence here today, considering all the flowers in the meadow were gone.

I've never seen apples quite like these before. And while most wild apple trees are just ravaged by worms, this one seems virtually untouched. I felt drawn to it, so I took these pictures and a few more.

I know that we're not supposed to eat any wild plants or fruit. I said so myself. But these apples just looked so appetizing. Maybe just a little bite...

Uh, I think I have to go. Something urging me out of the nature park. Maybe this wasn't a good idea. Everybody knows you don't eat strange fruit! Don't they?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tree Of Woe

Click on this picture for a better look at this tree. Go ahead, it's fun. Click click click. Seriously, when I saw this tree, the first thing I thought was this looks unnatural. I often try to imagine some of these trees looking like something more, but this one took no great stretch of imagination.

Look closer at it. I would swear that some of the protrusions on this tree look like awful hideously frozen humanoid faces. In the light of day the tree looks like it's made of bone. When it's in shadows it looks downright scary.

This was the capper to the feeling that something just wasn't right in the nature park today. I saw one other person in here earlier who passed quickly by with his head down, which just added to the same feeling.

This tree is one of the creepiest looking things I've ever seen on these trails. I've been here many times and I never saw this before. If you like the spooky or the strange, which I do, you would have had an exciting everyday adventure here today!


I was talking before about the changes I was seeing everywhere. Here's a good example. In the pond here you can see this green muck everywhere. It's called green algae. Up close here it looks the thickest, but it's just as thick far out there too. It looks like lumps in the water wherever you look. It gives the whole pond a green tint. The pond seems to have a lifeless look because of this. Most of the time I see some sort of animal moving on or in the water, today there was nothing. I usually have a peaceful feeling coming out here, but because of the way it looks right now it just makes me feel alone. I gotta say it's not a good feeling, but it's not a bad feeling either. It is a feeling that made me want to hurry on my way. Still, it was an interesting adventure, and I'll be back here again sometime to see what further changes there might be.

Green algae (singular: green alga) are the large group of algae from which the embryophytes (higher plants) emerged.[1] As such, they form a paraphyletic group, although the group including both green algae and embryophytes is monophyletic (and often just known as kingdom Plantae). The green algae include unicellular and colonial flagellates, usually but not always with two flagella per cell, as well as various colonial, coccoid, and filamentous forms. In the Charales, the closest relatives of higher plants, full differentiation of tissues occurs. There are about 6000 species of green algae. [2] Many species live most of their lives as single-cells, other species form colonies or long filaments.

Hey, are you still here? Go look at some of my other stuff! Really. It's pretty good.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Achieving Life

"Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death."
-Ayn Rand

Natural Changes

As I've said before, I like the nature trails and I've been hiking on them for a few years now. But since I decided to start this site, I really am noticing for the first time the changes in nature as time goes on. I've watched as flowers bloomed and disappeared. I see times when there are animals all around and times when they seem to have vanished. Sometimes the animals are just a different type. I've seen and heard a few birds of prey recently that I hope to get pictures of soon. They weren't there before that I know of. I've even noticed the changing patterns of people and their attitudes along the nature trails and some other places. As fall approaches, people seem to be more withdrawn and not quite as ready to stop and talk. At the beginning of the summer, some would literally stop me just to talk about nothing in particular. Usually they would say hi as they walked past. Not so much anymore. A kind of hibernation? I just wrote about the falling trees, which I'm assuming is a seasonal thing. The whole thing makes me excited to see what happens next, as summer turns to fall, and fall turns to winter. What will I see, Where will I go? I'll probably have to change my patterns as things get colder. But in what way? Just a little while ago I was kind of dreading this, because I wasn't sure what I would do. Now, I see it as an opportunity for newer and different everyday adventures. The possibilities are endless. Anyway the wind blows...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Water Strider

These water striders were all over the place here today. Anywhere I saw water by the nature trails, there they were. I stood there on the bridge watching them scoot across the water. I wondered why they did it and how they did it. I like the way they make those round depressions on the water wherever they touch it. I was just watching a Jackie Chan movie called The Tuxedo, where he is wearing a super spy tuxedo. In the movie he keeps mistakenly asking for a man named Walter Strider. He really is supposed to be asking about water striders. It's a nice movie, and I remembered the name of these insects because of it.

Here's a little about them from Wikipedia:
The family Gerridae contains insects commonly known as water striders, water bugs, magic bugs, pond skaters, skaters, skimmers, water scooters, water skaters, water skeeters, water skimmers or water skippers. These are predatory insects which rely on surface tension to walk on top of water. They live on the surface of ponds, slow streams, marshes, and other quiet waters. They can move very quickly, up to 1.5 m/s.

Cool. Follow the link up there for more information.

Falling Trees

As I walked the nature trails here on my daily adventure, I noticed something a little alarming. The further I walked, the more I saw fallen trees across the trails. The people in charge of the park cleared most them away, but there were still some that had probably fallen since they'd been there. I've been walking on these trails for a few years, but I'm not exactly knowledgeable about this kind of thing. Maybe there was some kind of wind storm here. Maybe there is some kind of disease getting to the trees. Maybe a parasite or a larger animal is killing or hurting the trees. Or maybe these trees are just getting old.

I don't know which of these reasons it could be if any. There could be more than one reason. Maybe this is something that just happens every year. It didn't look like the same thing everywhere. Some trees were broken at the base. Some were completely uprooted. And some were broken anywhere from a foot or more from the ground. I would see in most places the fallen trees were cut up and moved off the trails, but sometimes I had to step over one laying across the path.

There were a few more trees that hadn't fallen yet, but were clearly ready to go. There was this one huge tree, that I walked past quickly, that was leaning and waiting for the stress of it's weight to take it down. I also saw few that were being propped up by other trees. I've never seen a tree actually fall, but I'd bet it's a sight to behold. I'm not sure how quickly it happens, or how much warning a person might have. I do know that I'll keep my eyes and ears open for things like this when I'm out on the nature trails. I don't think it's a big danger, but it is something to be mindful of from now on.

If a tree falls on you in the forest, do you make a sound?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Little To The Left

In the park at last, I didn't want this to be the same old thing, so at the first branch I decided to do something slightly different. I usually take the path on the right, but this time I decided to go left. I said slightly. This might seem to some people like nothing at all, but it put a whole new perspective on things. It was like going through a whole new trail. Not a huge, humongous, gigantic adventure, but a nice everyday adventure. That's what we're looking for here anyway aren't we. I was glad I went this way, because I discovered something I'll tell you about in the next post. Bye bye.

Asking Directions

I decided to go back to Woodland Hills Nature Park today. I haven't been there in a while so I decided it was time. Well, I got there and there was a man in the parking lot who was asking people something. I saw him talking to the other people and didn't pay too much attention. The others left and as I got out of my car I saw him looking in my direction. I wondered what was going on. I hoped it wasn't something bad. I walked over towards the trail entrance, and the man. He just needed to know where Heritage Park was. Oh good, this was an easy one. I gave him very good directions so he was sure to find it. He thanked me and was on his way, and I was on mine. I wondered why nobody else knew where it was. It's the biggest park around. I guess not enough people have been here yet. I'll have to work on that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nature Imitates Herself

Nature imitates herself. A grain thrown into good ground brings forth fruit; a principle thrown into a good mind brings forth fruit.

Everything is created and conducted by the same Master-the root, the branch, the fruits-the principles, the consequences.

- Pascal

This plaque is on the side of the chimney of the Chalet at the Orchard Lake Nature Sanctuary.

The Mural

Here's a close up picture of the mural on the fireplace wall of the chalet. Somewhere here it says that it was all done by school children. You'll have to see it for yourself if you want a better look. It shows a nature scene that might occur around here. The scene is bordered with smaller pictures of local wildlife. Some of the border pictures are three dimensional. You really should go see this thing if you live in the area.

More Great Websites

Here are some more great websites that I don't have on the sidebar. I have very limited space there so I came up with this idea. If anyone has a better idea, please let me know. These are all very good sites, so I wanted to list them here on my site. More will come as I find out who you are.

Any of you on this list that want your link on the main page just show me your support. If you leave frequent comments on my posts and you have a link to me, I'll add you to my sidebar. If I still fail to move your link to the sidebar, please give me a gentle reminder and I'll take care of it for you. And I like to comment back, so you'll get plenty of feedback from me also. I have to do things this way because of the limited space.

Important Posts

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Chalet

The Chalet. One of our last stops in this nature park. As you can see, it's either being worked on or demolished. Hopefully the former. This is a nice place to stop and rest. I'm sitting on a stone bench as I take this picture. This place is designed to be a good place to sit and relax, and have a good view of nature as you do. A place like this, made mostly of brick and stone, always makes me think of lost ancient civilizations. I know it looks a lot newer than that, but that's always what comes to my mind. They're my thoughts; I'll think the way I want. It makes it more fun that way anyway. What better way to have an everyday adventure than with a good imagination? There are plaques and that big mural on the sides of the chimney. Cool huh?

Upper Straits Overlook

Immediately, I have two opinions on this place. First, this looked like a cool place and we had some fun here. It also looked like it had some potential for a good view of the lake, especially since it was called Upper Straits Overlook. We walked around this place and just had fun with the uniqueness of it. We had fun, then we decided to check out the view of the lake.

This is the best view of Upper Straits Lake from here. I wouldn't want to interfere with the growth of the trees here either, but you can't really see anything from the overlook. I did get some better pictures, but only because the camera's zoom feature can see better than me. This represents the actual view the best. As you can see, maybe if the trees weren't in the way, this would be a great view. Part good adventure, part not so good adventure here. This park is bordered on two sides by these big beautiful lakes, but it seems there is really no public way to see them. That's unfortunate. The trails themselves are what's really important here anyway. If you come here to see these lakes you'll be disappointed, but if you come for the trails you'll have a great everyday adventure.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Upper Straits Lake

The trail leading up to this dock looks promising. I want to get some good pictures of the water. While some that I got here were good, I think I can do a lot better.

When I got out on the dock, I saw that Upper Straits Lake had a lot of activity today, and a lot of people. It's a huge lake, and has quite a bit to see. I would have liked to stay here a little longer. So many boats up close made it hard to get a good picture of the lake. I like this one though.

There's one thing I can't resist mentioning. There was an incident, with the woman from this closest boat, that Alice wouldn't really like told here, so I won't give more details. I have to say though, it was pretty funny. I thought before that Alice was going to be small for the rest of the time on these trails, but this made her grow to the size of a giant. I bet she could fit that arrowhead in her pocket now.

Rock Borders

I took a lot of pictures of these rocks, but none of them came out quite like I wanted. Even so, I liked the rock borders on this trail. It just made everything seem so peaceful here. There was no one else around, and it was really quiet. When I see something like this so far from anything else, it makes me feel like I've just discovered a great treasure.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Arrowhead Rock

I found this rock at the Orchard Lake Nature Sanctuary. This thing looks just like a giant arrowhead. It's about three feet long. I wanna see if I can find the giant that used this. That would be an amazing picture. It looks pretty old, so he's probably long gone by now. Oh well. For some reason I only took one picture of this rock. Just looking at it made Alice feel pretty small, so we'll have to find something to bring her size back up. Why does she keep doing that?

Something Sneaky Back There

While I was taking pictures of the geese, I saw something strange back there toward the trees. Towards the top of the picture, just to the left of the path you can see a mysterious animal laying there. I decided to take a closer look, so I walked back towards it. Now, I shouldn't pretend this was the first time I've seen it. I saw it before, but I didn't know what it was. Now I do.

It's another woodchuck! This is the closest I could get before it ran off into the trees to the left. I've seen other animals back here before. Behind the trees is a creek and the forest goes on for quite a ways. I see deer sometimes, but not in a while. I mentioned the geese before. A few days before I saw the woodchuck for the first time, I saw something potentially dangerous. I looked back there one day, and right at the edge of the trees there was a dog like animal, but it was no dog. It was wild, and I suspect it was a coyote. It was moving around back there, and when it saw me it bolted into the trees. Then I saw it peering out of the edge of the trees at me. I gotta say, It made me a little afraid. Gladly, I haven't seen it since. If I do, I'll try to get a picture. Even so, I'm finding out I can find adventure every day in my own backyard.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Counterfeit Money?

Wow, I just got home and rushed to post this. I was just at the bank, depositing my paycheck at the drive-thru, where I saw them checking for counterfeit money. They had two $100 bills that they were comparing. The woman who worked at the window looked a little worried and upset. I hope she wasn't in trouble for taking them or something. Anyway, something I didn't know, is that the bank uses those pens you sometimes see cashiers use to check for counterfeit money. I honestly wasn't sure they really worked. The second woman was marking both and showing her the difference. Then the second woman was examining the two to try and see any difference. It didn't look like she could tell. They both were pretty distracted, so I didn't try to interrupt. While this was going on the first woman was handling my business. I watched as a third woman came over and she was also looking. By this time, they had pulled out more $100 bills from the drawer and were beginning to look at them too. The drive-thru woman was so distracted that she almost forgot to give me back my license. Well, I couldn't really stick around to watch; so after she gave me my license, apologized and told me to have a nice weekend, I told her that I hoped her day improved. She said thanks, and I was on my way. This may not be an adventure that happens every day, but it happened during an everyday event. Things like this are not a good thing, but I have to say it was exciting.

Geese In My Backyard!

I found these geese in my backyard yesterday. I have found, as with these, that geese aren't very afraid of people. These geese let me get pretty close, and posed for a lot of pictures. I got close, but I was careful. If you make them angry, geese will attack you, so don't. They're not small animals, and they can hurt you pretty good. Make no mistake, they were keeping an eye on me, but I stayed just far enough away to keep them at ease. After I got all the pictures I wanted, I went back inside to have breakfast. I checked on them periodically throughout the day, and saw that they had decided to camp out in that very spot for the entire day. I was watching for golden eggs, but just my luck, there were none to be found. Ahhh, that's my life.

Last spring several flocks of geese would come around and make so much noise it would wake me up every morning. They'd be carrying on playing and fighting right outside my window. I would usually just stay inside until they left. I wasn't quite brave or stupid enough to try and take my chances out there. Even so, I was hoping to get a few pictures of the geese since then.

The Canada Goose was one of the many species described by Linnaeus in his 18th-century work Systema Naturae.It belongs to the Branta genus of geese, which contains species with largely black plumage, distinguishing them from the grey species of the Anser genus. The specific epithet canadensis is a New Latin word meaning "of Canada".

The black head and neck with white "chinstrap" distinguish the Canada Goose from all except the Barnacle Goose, but the latter has a black breast, and grey, rather than brownish, body plumage. There are seven subspecies of this bird, of varying sizes and plumage details, but all are recognizable as Canada Geese. Some of the smaller races can be hard to distinguish from the newly-separated Cackling Goose.

This species is native to North America. It breeds in Canada and the northern United States in a variety of habitats. Its nest is usually located in an elevated area near water, sometimes on a beaver lodge. Its eggs are laid in a shallow depression lined with plant material and down. The Great Lakes region maintains a very large population of Canada Geese.

In recent years, Canada Geese populations in some areas have grown substantially, so much so that many consider them pests (for their droppings, the bacteria in their droppings, noise and confrontational behavior). This problem is partially due to the removal of natural predators and an abundance of safe, man-made bodies of water (such as on golf courses, public parks and beaches, and in planned communities).

When threatened, geese stand erect and hiss.

- Wikipedia

What Wikipedia may not mention is that geese sometimes have bad tempers, and will attack a full grown human if they feel threatened enough. They use their wings to beat on you, and they can win. They've been known to kill dogs in a fight. As long as you give them a little space, you should have nothing to worry about, and you'll have a fun everyday adventure and an interesting experience.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Leave A Comment

Something that I wanted to make clear for everyone, is that you can feel free to use my comments sections. You'll find them at the bottom of every post, and in a few other places. The comments are open to everybody, even if you're just passing through. Do you like or dislike something here? I'd like to hear about it. Do you have an adventure or a story of your own that you'd like to share? Of course, I'd love to see it here. Do you have a suggestion for me about this site? I'm sure it would help me greatly. If you have a suggestion for an everyday adventure for me to try out and show here, I'd like to read about that most of all. So leave a comment, give a suggestion, ask a question. They're all welcome here, and so are you.

The Mist

In this picture is something really different than I expected to see. I'm usually on the lookout for an animal or a cool looking plant in these nature areas, but as I always tell people, the fun part of an everyday adventure is that I never know what I'm going to see. I've been hoping for some time to get a picture of thick fog, but I never thought of this. Look at the road running along the top right. I took this picture specifically to capture the mist that is rising from it. As it's rising up, it's traveling up the road away from me. The mist was there because it was a particularly rainy day, and as the road was drying, up came this mist. It looked almost ghostly, and it was one of the coolest effects I've seen. This picture can't quite capture the true effect. This is why I keep saying to try going to places like this yourself. When you do, come back here and tell me about your adventure. Your adventure stories and comments about mine are always welcome here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Little Preview

Here's a little preview of the West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve. This place is one of the first things you'll see. In the middle are pictures with maps, plenty of information, and some fun facts. There are benches around it, so it's a good rest area. You might need it. The trails branch out from here. Watch out for the bikes on the trails that they're allowed. They're supposed to look for you, but I almost got run over standing in plain view.

This is the trail that I walked for a little ways. I turned back around when it branched, up ahead. I didn't explore this park further yet, because this was only a scouting mission. I had more parks to see, so this was only the beginning of my adventure today. An everyday adventure isn't always short, but it's almost always fun!

West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve

West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve is a park that I've been driving by for a long time, but I never knew it was there. I found this one through an internet search. When I saw where it was, I was shocked. It's just down the road from The Orchard Lake Nature Sanctuary. Go west from there on Pontiac Trail to 4655 Arrowhead Road. This one has a picnic area, bike trails, and my favorite, hiking trails. I have only been a short way on one trail but it looked promising. The only thing I didn't like, was that there was a box for trail maps, but it was empty. Hopefully they'll fix this when I go back. This one looks like it might provide me with some pretty good everyday adventures. Here's a link to the website with more information and better directions.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The etymology of the name woodchuck is unrelated to wood or chucking. It stems from an Algonquian name for the animal (possibly Narragansett), wuchak. The apparent relationship between the two words has led to the common tongue twister: "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? -- A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as he could if a woodchuck could chuck wood". Other response lines can be used, including:

1. "As much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood."
2. "A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood."
3. "A woodchuck would chuck all the wood, if a woodchuck only could."

-From Wikipedia

Woodchuck Or Groundhog

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as the woodchuck or whistlepig, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Most marmots, such as yellow-bellied and hoary marmots, live in rocky and mountainous areas, but the woodchuck is a lowland creature. It is widely distributed in North America and common in the northeastern and central United States. Groundhogs are found as far north as Alaska, with their habitat extending southeast to Alabama.

-From Wikipedia

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Found A Woodchuck!

As I said I continue to do, in my post, "Why I Love The Nature Trails", I was looking for more nature parks. This time a specific one called Harmon Oaks Park. It's located in Farmington Hills on Greening Road, one block east of Orchard Lake Road and two blocks north of Thirteen Mile Road. What I found was kind of disappointing. There was really no place for me to park, so it didn't seem very accessible to people outside the local neighborhood. I decided not to bother with it. Well, not all everyday adventures can end well. It was still worth a look. It is a public place, so any adventurous souls out there might want to see if they can do better than I did. Anyway, I thought this adventure was at an end, but while I was driving around, I found this chubby little guy. He's a woodchuck or groundhog (same thing),whose new name is Harvey, by the way. Harvey was kind enough to pose for several pictures for me, which I will include in a few upcoming posts (How's that for milking it). It seems even a disappointment can turn into a good adventure in the end.

Creepy Swamp Trail

This place is full of swamps. This boardwalk wraps around through the lowest section. It sits pretty close to the swampy ground and the water. I wouldn't want to meet an alligator right now, so I'm glad this is in Michigan. Maybe this is where Swamp Thing comes from. I'm sure there are plenty of other creepy crawlys around here. I think I'll be sure to stay on the boards. I wonder what's around the corner. I have to say, even though it's really creepy looking here, creepy in this case is a pretty good time. Every adventure on the nature trails is different, but the thing they all have in common is that they're all some of the most fun I've ever had.

Is that an alligator in the water? What? Are you sure? It couldn't be... this is Michigan.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stone Steps

These steps go a long way up. I'm glad I walked down. I came down about three sets of these to get down here. I've never seen any quite like this, at least in this condition. I wonder how old these steps are. They look pretty worn out, but they still seem to do the job. The worn look makes them fit right in with everything else. It makes me think of long forgotten people and civilizations. Coming all the way down here is like entering a different world. Up ahead it's starting to look kind of swampy. Maybe I'll see a dinosaur. That would be the ultimate everyday adventure.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Alice was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.

There was nothing so very remarkable in that, nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" But when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket and looked at it and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and, burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole, under the hedge. In another moment, down went Alice after it!

- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I liked having Alice with me at Orchard Lake Nature Sanctuary, so I invited her to come along with me to Heritage Park. After a while, we came to a particularly nice area, and Alice said, "Look, a rabbit!" I told her we should be very quiet so we could get some pictures of it. I said they might not be very good though, because we might not be close enough.

She said, "I can get really close to it. I've done this before with rabbits." I asked her where she saw a rabbit before. She said, "In my back yard. I know how to get right up next to them." Then she proceeded to try to sneak up on it. There it went, with Alice right behind.

I told her it wasn't working with this one, but she insisted that she could get closer. The rabbit continued to move away, as she pursued hot on it's heels.

I was taking as many pictures as I could as the rabbit moved away. Alice kept after it, and I told her, maybe she should stop. She said, "No, really, I can do it." But the rabbit was quickly moving away now. Maybe I could get one last picture.

Well, I got half of a picture. The rabbit then ran into the forest. Alice went to plunge right in after it, when I told her more firmly now, to stop. She finally stopped and said, "I can still see it. If I go in there, I can chase it back out so we can get more pictures." I told her not to do it, because we don't want to scare it anymore. She eventually reluctantly agreed, and I said, "Let's sit down and rest, this is a nice place."

As we sat down on one of these benches, I thought to myself, that If she would have gone into the forest after that rabbit, I probably wouldn't have been able to keep up with her. I was glad I was able to get her to stop. Wow, I'm tired. What is it with Alice and rabbits?

You know, when I started this Everyday Adventurer thing, I never thought I'd find myself in Wonderland.