I did a boat tour in November into the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
with a couple that was dressed for bear so to speak. The weather was less
than ideal. Rain threatened and did as the wind blew the water out into
Saginaw Bay. The sky was overcast making for less than ideal photographic
opportunities, which was their primary focus. But, they were comfortable and
appreciative of our little adventure into the Flats. The water was
relatively clear in some spots and we were able to see the bottom
occasionally, revealing some of the many deadheads I've been running over my
whole life. We stopped in a couple of spots to stretch our legs and savor
the beauty that makes up the "Everglades of Michigan".
I feel blessed every time I am fortunate enough to get out there, and
recall many adventures into the swamp on days like this. Sometimes with
friends and sometimes solo, each brings its own style of drama. Sheltered in
a small tributary the water flowed imperceptibly by black with tannin. The
wind roared through the trees above our heads like a giant generator as
swans and cranes could be heard in the distance.
I remember coming in here as a kid, stalking the deer and eventually
finding my way to the water's edge. Much older now I feel myself being
absorbed by my surroundings as I try to hone my senses, disappearing into
the landscape. Silently swaying with the wind and trees as I watch countless
birds fly over as the water rushes to the Bay- this is what it is all about
for me. I heard a stomp and a snort as a healthy 4 point buck catches a
glimpse of me and alerts all within his range. The wind is in my favor, yet
he still spotted me at least 100 yards away. As he retreated a monster
non-typical raised his head from the tall weeds and ran the smaller buck
I watched in awe and tried my best to capture his image so far away. He
warily made his way along the water's edge; occasionally raising his head to
make sure none got close enough to have a chance at his hide. He was old,
smart, and a pleasure to observe. Yup, as Don used to say; "It doesn't get
any better than this!" on a cold, windy day- getting back in touch with my
roots in the Shiawassee Flats!
We had an awesome day out in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge last Sunday. I was out there from sunrise until sunset, enveloped by the sights and sounds of fall. Here is a link to some grainy video of just a small fraction of the beautiful scenery we experienced. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAJQa1qm1Kw .
The eagles, ducks, swans, deer, and great egrets were very cooperative, but I felt like I was just a split second off all day. Kind of like body surfing and having the wave pass you instead of riding it. It was still fun, but had so much more potential. My guests were from as far away as South Africa, Denmark, and Alberta. It was my priviledge to be able to share the "Everglades of Michigan" with them!
Here is a link to some images from our trip out East this year. I love New Hampshire, and long to live there, or at least visit more often! I have many great memories from a childhood of running up and down the rivers and trails. I tried to capture the beauty of the water and the challenge of the hikes. I am blessed to be able to share this with family and friends!
Last week I took a couple out on a dramatic afternoon. The wind blew a lot of the water out into the Bay, and as the sun set, a few clouds blew in to give the sky a little texture. The air was sweet with the smell of Fall, and the migrations were starting to pick up. Here is a link to a little piece of a beautiful afternoon shared in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.
I was finally able to edit some video in HD. Please don't expect professional quality, but I think it conveys some of the peace, beauty, solitude, and adventure we experienced in the Shiawassee Flats this spring. Those of you that have been out with me know I live for this stuff, and I hope you find some enjoyment sharing my playground in the Shiawassee Flats, right out the back door of Saginaw. Here is the link: