Sunday, September 21, 2008

His Trail, Her Trail

Back from the northcountry. For the past week Wendy and I have been vacationing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I'm a gotta go, gotta do kinda guy on vacation so lots of walks and hikes. We like to see wildlife on these trips so we were really hoping to find a bear (a friendly one, of course).

Our longest hike took place at Grand Marais along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior. First stop was at the visitor's center there where the sign said, "Closed. See you in May 2009." Oh, well. We didn't need any stinking maps. At nearby Log Slide Overlook, so named because of the logs dumped into Lake Superior here during the lumbering era, we saw a trail that descended to a nearby lighthouse.

Nearby is a relative term. One sign said it was two miles away, another said three. I only told Wendy about the two-mile sign to keep her enthusiasm and confidence up. You can see the lighthouse in the first photo if you click on the photo to enlarge it, Au Sable Point Lighthouse appearing as a speck of white on the distant shoreline. Off we went.

The trail was narrow in spots, with rather thick brush on both sides. Kinda scary. I think we found some bear poop too. See picture. Oh, yes. There would be bears. Or so we were hoping. Then Wendy thought she saw one but it was just a trick of the lighting and some strange growths on a tree. Can you see it in the picture?

Along the way there were some beautiful views of Lake Superior. We were hiking or climbing down the whole time, something that did not go unnoticed by Wendy. When we reached the lighthouse--quite a hike--Wendy said for me to retrieve the car and pick her up. But the only road to the lighthouse was closed. She would have to hike one way to a distant public campground, while I had to climb back up to the cliff overlook to get the car.

I wasn't sure separating and hiking alone in bear country was such a good idea. But what the hea. We did. On the way back, I saw an animal standing on the trail. He had already seen me and was turning to spring back into the forest. I thought surely it was a predator of some type. A small wolf or perhaps a coyote? Or maybe even a bobcat I thought from the way it sprang.

Thought about trying to track it into the woods to get a picture but maybe that wasn't such a good idea. What if it was a young wolf who then returned to his extended family?

"Look mommy who followed me home."


"Oh, oh."

So I hustled on to the top of the trail and got the car. And Wendy was waiting for me at the campground when I drove the five or so miles down the road. She had encountered a snake, but nothing else. I'm glad I just ran across a meat-eating predator. I hate snakes.

Per requests, I posted lots of pictures. It was an adventure and, more importantly, great blog fodder.


Blogger Lynilu said...

Oh, good! Faces to go with the names!! That always helps me. I hate when I've pictured someone one way for a long while, and then find out they look entirely different. Screws with my mind.

Pretty scenery, too! Looks like a nice peaceful place.

Well, you've set a new standard, for sure. You are the first person I know who has posted a picture of poop, albeit, *wildlife* poop on their blog. I'm speechless. Probably just as well.


8:54 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

I'm with you...snakes creep me out. Every so often, we'll get a garden snake in the pool. It's pretty bad when my girls pick it up while I'm running in the other direction.

Is this the first time we've seen the infamous Dave and Wendy in photos? Or, did you grab two people to throw us off the trail.

Speaking of trails, great pictures. I'm glad you guys had a good time.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

Your photos remind me of some of my favorite childhood family vacation spots, Dave.

Wendy is beautiful but your sweatshirt is uglier than scat.

Maybe your predator was a worthless wolverine, hobbling his way back to his den with his tail between his legs.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

despite the vicious animals and the slimy snakes, I thought your pictures of the scenary and of you and Wendy were very nice. Sounds like an eventful trip Dave.
all we encountered on our hike through the local regional park to take the grandsons to the pumpkin patch were flies-must have been courtesy of the ponies from the pony rides.

7:35 PM  
Blogger jan said...

Pictorial proof that a bear (or some large animal) does indeed poop in the woods. It wasn't the bear than advertises the toilet paper probably.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LYNILU--It was a very peaceful place. Too peaceful, if you know what I mean. Every little noise in the woods had us on edge.

FRED--I believe I posted our photos too the last time we were on vacation, in your neck of the woods actually, back in March.

BABETTE--What's ugly about my sweatshirt? You should be thankful that my Wolverines softened up the Irish so your Spartans could take them. Did you see even their coach was limping? Courtesy of a Wolverine hit.

CARINE--There actually were lots of flies in the Upper Peninsula too. We couldn't keep them out of our car. Guess they wanted to come south with us before the colder weather set in.

JAN--But we found more bear scat right on the trail in different spots. You would think if they "went" in the woods, it would be IN THE WOODS.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

G'day Dave, that sure looks like a bear in the 4th photo, I've never been up close and personal with the subject matter in the 3rd photo so no comment.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

Great pics, Dave. It's been awhile since I've been in the Michigan area. Glad you had a good time.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

I, too, think that scary carnivore wears a U of M sweat shirt. Wendy is one tough woman....I would never stay alone in the woods with nothing but a snake for company...I'm not talking about you, Dave.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ssssssssssssssssssnaaaaaaaaaaaakeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssss There is a reason I dont hike and that would be it!! YIIKES! I hate hate them!
Bears well I guess you takes your chances when you hit the trailS!
LOVeeeeeeee the pics too they are great and YES I agree I was always taught that bears go in the "woods" so what the ?? Trail nice and clear I guess. Glad you had a great time of it. I bet it got chilllly up there too! hehe Take care and thanks for taking us along.. : )

9:18 PM  
Blogger Spider63 said...

The bear poop is next to a sock, no doubt the bear ate a hiker.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I don't like snakes either....Noooo! That light house looks more than two or three miles...I wonder how far it actually is? Glad you had a good time. Looks like a lot more fun than our hurricane.....

8:48 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

PETER--In the woods, it looked more like a real bear. The flash takes away some of the mystery.

NANKIN--One thing about having a digital camera, you can take as many pictures as you want till you get it right.

KACEY--Wendy has been getting in shape for this trip for a while, so she wanted to prove she could handle herself on a wooded trail.

CAROLDEE--It was 70 degrees the one and only night we tent-camped. So that wasn't bad. I loved going to sleep with the sound of waves breaking on the shore of nearby Lake Superior.

SPIDEY--I did read somewhere that more fatal bear maulings occurred in the Upper Peninsula than in any other place in the lower U.S.

LUCY--Your hurricane is still making the news here. Worse than Katrina in some ways, I hear.

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, what gorgeous country! Aren't you the adventurers. As much as I love bears....I think I'd pass on meeting one up close and personal. I'm more a dog/cat kind of person. Domestic cat, that is.
Your photos are great. I really enjoyed them and welcome home.

1:51 PM  
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