Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fish story

Scientists have found evidence that the Asian carp is now above the electric barrier on the Sanitary and Ship Canal and within a few miles of the Great Lakes. There's just one lock in their way on the Calumet River, which connects to the Mississippi River watershed through a web of other waterways.

Until Friday, it was thought that the carp were in the Des Plaines River, which runs side-by-side with the canal that ultimately leads to Lake Michigan. To reach the Great Lakes, it would have taken a flood or a fish flopping three miles down Devon Ave. to the North Branch of the Chicago River. Now, it's known that the carp hopped the electric barrier on the canal. Life finds a way.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flipping out

Flip City in Shelby, Mich., is by far the best disc golf course I've ever played. Located on the edge of Manistee National Forest about 40 miles north of Muskegon, Flip City was created by disc golfers for disc golfers--it's a players course. The fairways are wide (see above), perhaps half of the 24 holes are from elevated tees and the course is very well marked. Flip City is located on private property, an old farm dotted with hills and trees. It was founded in 1980. We played with a friendly regular there who helped advise on shot choices and works with the course founder and property owner. It's quite an out-of-the-way place, but if ever in the area again I will be headed to Flip City.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Small pond

This is a view of a little pothole lake along the North Country Trail, somewhere during Day 1 of the trip to the Manistee.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Forest approach

Today was another great day for a hike, although a bit cooler than yesterday. The temperature was about 36 when we set out from the swampy campsite. We donned blaze orange and did in fact see several hunters. Most had driven in close to their treestands and blinds. We were in a national forest--not a wilderness--so there were many roads into the area. In an article in the Detroit Free Press yesterday, a Frenchman who happened to be hunting in Michigan said: "It's very different here. You don't walk much." True, but staying near your car also makes it easier to haul the deer out.

We did see two deer and also a flock of trumpeter swans, high high above us. We also saw a small black creature that may have been a mink or something like it. It was a bit longer of a hike than Saturday and we ended up doing about 12 miles total.

More to come soon including photos and a report from the epic disc golf course, Flip City.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Swamp things

Right now, we're in a swamp. We're surrounded on three sides by standing water in a makeshift campsite. There also are a few cedars and birches with lots of oaks. It's cloudy at the moment after a beautiful sunny warm November day.

Today's adventure began at the Nichols Lake trailhead in the Manistee National Forest, near Big Rapids, Mich. The hike skirted several small, secluded lakes amid rolling topography. The lakes may be glacial potholes, and there were several other small ponds and marshes among the hills.

We have about four more miles to go tomorrow. We'll be walking out as 750,000 Michiganders take to the woods for the opening of firearm deer season.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ore loads

Some interesting news items coming across the driftless area wire this evening.

I was 21 days old when the Edmund Fitzgerald disappeared in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. My hometown newspaper at the time placed a six-column headline across the top of Page 1.

A St. Ignace, Mich., man walked across the Upper Peninsula, hunting and gathering his way for 517 miles. Incredible!

And Nau is back with a popup store in New York.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Good ship

A memorial service is scheduled for River Rouge, Mich., on Tuesday for the 34th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Many of the 29 men who died were Midwesterners, lots from Indiana and Ohio in fact. The storm on Lake Superior--a gale of November--that took the freighter was as strong as a Category 1 hurricane. So pour some brandy and raise a glass on Tuesday for the legend that lives on from the Chippewa on down.