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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Enjoying a Hike Before Gun-Deer Season

hikers on boardwalk
Spirit of the Woods hikers (photo by JHY)

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by JHY

In Michigan, tomorrow is the opening day of gun-deer hunting season. Most hikers prefer to stay out of the woods for those weeks. Probably many chapters of the North Country Trail Association head out for a hike in the final days before that season opens in the various states. Seven members of the Spirit of the Woods chapter in Michigan (and 4 dogs) headed out to take a look at the completed 550 feet of boardwalk that they had built over the summer.

Sterling Marsh
Sterling Marsh (photo by JHY)

The trail passes by the edge of Sterling Marsh, a great spot for birdwatching or listening to frogs in the springtime. However, the area is often knee-deep in water at that time of year. And even today sections of the trail were very muddy. The chapter hopes to instead improve it, by building more boardwalk, so that it becomes a premier destination for wildlife watching.

top of large hemlock
crown of large hemlock (photo by JHY)
Throughout the local woods are a number of large hemlock trees which were surely not harvested when the area was logged in the early 20th century. This is the crown of one of the largest we found, estimated at about 100 feet tall.
circling a large hemlock
Dave and Vicky estimate the diameter (photo by JHY)
Two hikers were willing to become literal tree huggers, and thus estimated the diameter of the ancient hemlock at 11 feet.

The weather was more like October than November! Following the hike, the group sat in bright sunshine under blue skies and enjoyed their simple lunches.

This was just an "ordinary" hike... a group of trail enthusiasts gathered to enjoy a day in the woods. Across seven states, many such "ordinary" hikes add up to an extraordinary dedication to the completion of the North Country Trail.

See Baldwin Rotary Helps Build Sterling Marsh Boardwalk
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