The weather hasn’t been very cooperative lately for hiking; at least in my neck of the woods. I guess you can say that Mother Nature has been having quite the mood swings lately. This winter has been harsh for a lot us; bringing atmospheric disturbances like we have not seen in countless years. We Michiganders had to deal with a bomb cyclone or bombogenesis as also named this recent February.
The snow has been relentlessly targeting our driveways and roadways just long enough to cause white-knuckled tension in the weekday commute for drivers for a few days, requiring our snow-shoveling attention in the evenings or early mornings. This has lasted a couple of days, then warms up to a thaw-out point to make the grass just visible for a day, then another annoying dump of the white stuff. Just enough for the inconvenience, but not lasting long enough for enjoyment with the kids, unless we want to bring them out in the subzero windchill temps when the snow is perfect enough for sledding. I mean, it never really even got deep enough for snowshoeing really. At least in our Southeastern Michigan region.
Here we are now, mid-March, and finally, we get a well-deserved break from this relentless disaster of a winter season. Temps are beginning to climb as soon as we are able to turn our clocks forward an hour and get back some of the daylight we have been longing for over the last four months. The snow is melting away and bringing colors back into our daily commute. The grass is able to catch its breath and regain its precedence and life once again.
Even though the Spring season, we know, is set to bring rain, it is necessary to bring life back to many things that have been hibernating over the past few winter months. I am okay with this. I mean, one can still hike comfortably with a good pair of waterproof hiking boots and gaiters.
Once we finally had the break in the cold weather for a gorgeous weekend, I was on cloud nine when my daughter asked me if we could head outside for a hike. Jackie wasn’t feeling well, so I was happy to take the girls off her hands and hit the trails.
After a quick peek on alltrails.com, I found a good little hike available at the Troy Community Center on Big Beaver Road and Livernois. It was one and a half mile loop trail. Perfect for getting our legs moving and blood pumping for a start-of-the-season warm-up hike.
The only thing left to do before we packed in the car was to find my backpack and pack up some energy snacks, water, and first aid kit (just in case). It was a bit of a chore since I should have kept this all together at the end of the season, but we found what we needed, packed up, got dressed for the weather, and hopped in the car for the short drive from our home.
When we arrived at the parking lot, it was tough to find the trailhead without a sign pointing us in the direction of where to start, but with the alltrails.com map and GPS, we made our way around the northern side of the Troy Family Aquatic Center building, up the hill, and were able to see down to an opening in the leafless trees where the trail picked up. It was really neat to see a tree fallen over where the trail began, where Allie could walk right underneath without even ducking her head, but Abby and I had to make our way underneath to catch up to Allie.
Once we got further into the trees, the trail was still covered in snow, so I’m glad we still wore our boots. The girls were in their glory, however, and I was in my glory seeing their faces glow with excitement in getting outside and on the trails again. We definitely were feeling trailsick, and were elated to find a cure.
This trail was actually one of those trails for most community centers that have the exercise stations along the path with bars for pull-ups and such. Of course, the kids just wanted to hang on them and play around with. I am so okay with this, as it gives them a change of pace and something to look forward to up around the next bend. They got to act silly for my photos, as you can see. But, it kept them occupied and wanting to move on to the next station as well.
It was still a bit cold out, so we didn’t stay out and hike as long as I wanted to, but it was the first hike after the long, bitter-cold winter season here in the great mitten state. I mean, you gotta start somewhere, right? I could have pushed on, but it would have been a chore to keep the kids happy, so we ended our hike a bit early. However, once we returned to the car and got the heat pumping again, we were able to reminisce about this hike and what lay ahead of us as the temperatures kept climbing in the coming months.
I have to say that I am getting anxious for my kids to get older so we can begin trekking on some more difficult trails, and for them to gain the strength to be able to handle some greater distances. I’m already beginning a list of future trips to National Parks, chock full of mountain trails and more. Soon. We’ll get there soon. Until then, I will still enjoy this nature-time I have with my kids and continue our hikes as much as I possibly can.