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Category Archives: parks

Red-headed woodpecker

On Tuesday, I found a red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) hanging out at Fox Island. I heard it and got a good look at it a couple hours after the first time I saw it, so I got a good ID and know it was around for a while. The park manager told me that has [...]

Perceptions of distance

It is amazing how perceptions of distance can differ between modes of transportation. One of the reasons I mostly stopped mountain biking years ago was the unfavorable comparison of total time dedicated to a ride and the actual ride time spent riding. The closest off road spot is a frustrating 25 minute or so drive [...]

Swimming in March

The March heatwave that the midwest has been suffering has been so long and hot that the water is already warm. I went on a 15 mile run at Fox Island, and 12 miles in decided to see how warm Bowman Lake was. I’d heard that the surface of the water was warm, so I [...]

First Flowers and the 48 Hour Winter

This year was the shortest winter in memory, lasting from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon on the weekend of January 20—22. Fortunately, I had put enough time on the NordicTrac to make the most of the snow when it finally came. But now the long season of not-winter-not-spring is over, and it is spring. I’ve [...]

Snow and rain

We finally got enough snow to open the ski rentals at Fox Island for several days. It’s raining tonight, but we were able to ski for six days. On a couple of the days, there was just enough snow to use my good skis if I was careful to avoid rocks and sticks. I’m still [...]


Well, it’s spring. We found Skunk Cabbage blooming at Metea this afternoon. Skunk Cabbage is always the first flower in this area. Harbinger of Spring should be up in a week or so, followed by everything else. Here are some snapshots of flowers found in the floodplain of a little seasonal stream that feeds into [...]

Swallow Falls

I was able to spend a little time at Swallow Falls State Park and Potomac-Garrett State Forest in western Maryland last week. There are three waterfalls in the park: Muddy Creek Falls, and Upper and Lower Swallow Falls. At 53 feet tall, Muddy Creek Falls is the highest in Maryland. Parts of the Upper and [...]

2007-2008 skiing wrap up

Skiing is over for 2007-2008. This winter I upgraded from waxless skis, improved my technique, and explored new trails. The past three winters I spent almost every skiable day working at Fox Island, so I didn’t have a chance to ski other places. This year I worked at Fox Island over Christmas break. The rest [...]

Skiing at Love Creek

I went up to Love Creek on Saturday. Love Creek County Park is in Berrien County Michigan, just north of South Bend. Being east of Lake Michigan, they get plenty of lake-effect snow. They have well-groomed tracks for both skating and classic skiing. I skated 27.5 km and classic skied 6.5 km. I doubled the [...]

Skiing at Hartwick Pines

I spent Saturday and Sunday skiing at Hartwick Pines State Park in Michigan. The park has plenty of good old trees and nice hills. The temperatures were between 0 and 10 °F, so the downhills were really cold. A former racer helped me improve my technique. Using waxable skis instead of waxless skis requires better [...]