Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kensington Nature Trails in Winter

For a quick winter hiking fix, I visited Kensington Metropark a few weeks ago to spend the afternoon walking a few of the park's quiet nature trails. We had received a good amount of snow earlier that week, and temperatures in the teens ensured it lasted through the weekend when I could get out and enjoy it.

When I reached the parking area near the nature center, I decided to leave my snowshoes in the car. There were many people taking advantage of the freezing but sunny day, so the trails were trampled to the point where snowshoes were not necessary; however, Yaktrax might have made walking a bit easier.

Cattails along Aspen Trail

First I headed out onto Aspen Trail. I passed a few photographers out trying to get shots of birds against the snowy background of the trail and powdered trees. Chickadees ate seeds out of a man's hand, while his female companion took photos with her massive camera.


I saw surprisingly little wildlife that afternoon, but this could be due to the number of people out. The trails were by no means crowded, but I saw considerably more people on this cold day than any of the times I visited the nature trails during the summer.

Wildwing Trail

After finishing the Aspen Trail, I continued on Wildwing Trail which circles Wildwing Lake. It was interesting to observe many parts of these trails without the thick green foliage typical of the warmer months. Wildwing Lake was a bit boring without all the birds that call it home at other times of the year, however. Ice fishing was getting underway and I could see a few people setting up shop out on the ice.

The rules

By now, most of the snow we received earlier this month has melted, which is typical of this part of Michigan. I plan to head up north in a few weeks for real winter conditions and for the opportunity to get my snowshoes out of the car.