Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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My Top Five Outdoor Adventures

Mike Terrell - January 4th, 2010
My Top Five Outdoor Adventures
By Mike Terrell
I look at the New Year as an adventure with lots of opportunity to
revisit many of my favorite outdoor activities and places; but it’s
also a time to plan ahead with some new outdoor adventures. There are
always outings left that I’d hoped to get in this past year that carry
over, and there are those adventures that I’ve been putting off for
years. Maybe this is the year to get some of those on my list.
Here are my five top outdoor things that I would like to accomplish in 2010.

First up is a trip to the Grand Canyon.  I’ve wanted to see it for
years, and just haven’t found the right time. I’ve been traveling in
the Southwest for the last three years around southern Utah and
Colorado and Arizona and New Mexico. I’ve seen incredible national
parks and monuments and canyons, but not the Grand Canyon. I was
thinking about it this past November on my trip out there, but daytime
temperatures of 30s and 40s and nighttime temps dipping into the teens
told me it was not the right time for a visit.
I plan on driving around the entire Grand Canyon, which will take four
or five days to complete.  I like to hike trails and take my time
exploring overlooks and absorbing the history of the land and people
that inhabited it over the last thousand or so years.  I have no
desire to hike along the rim when it’s cold, and especially with
possible ice and snow.  It’s not a place you want to be slipping and
sliding alongside a big – make that huge – drop.  Early spring or
October is a target date to avoid the summer heat.

North Manitou Island has been on my radar for -- I hate to say it --
the last 20 or more years.  This is a trip that annually is on my list
of summer things to do, but for one reason or another it’s one that I
have yet to make.
The old Four Preps song about visiting the Island of Santa Catalina,
“Twenty six miles across the sea, so near, yet so far,” always comes
to mind.  But, unlike the Preps, I’m not looking for romance, just the
seclusion of a beautiful, uninhabited, natural island that’s been
preserved in time and place.  Maybe I will take my water wings and
guitar.  You have to camp out a couple of nights.  The National Park
passenger boat only visits the island every couple of days.  Watching
the sunrise over the mainland is priceless.

Seeing a cougar, the natural kind, not predatory middle-aged women, is
high on my list.  I believe they are out there, but, like yeti, they
are difficult to find.
My outdoor writing friend, novelist Bob Butz who lives in Lake Ann and
wrote the best book that I’ve found on the subject, Beast of Never,
Cat of God, encountered a cougar when he was researching the book.
His encounter was in the UP, but he believes there are a few in the
LP.  The National Park Service, despite any actual evidence of a big
cat, believes they reside in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
They have put up warning signs around the Lakeshore advising visitors
that, “This is cougar country.”  No visitor has seen one that’s been
officially verified, but, like the middle-age women who prowl the
bars, they remain hopeful.  I prowl the woodlands and dunes looking
for mine. Maybe 2010 will be the year I see one, hopefully going the
other way.

As strange as it may seem, another longtime goal would be seeing an
Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. This shy snake, Michigan’s only
venomous snake, is becoming rarer with each passing decade. The DNR
lists them as “a creature of special concern.” They are still around,
but rarely seen by state residents.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Department is looking at listing them as an endangered species. A
sluggish snake that would prefer to avoid human contact, they aren’t
considered much of a threat. But, don’t corner it or try picking it up
if you’re lucky enough to find one. It is poisonous, observe from a
safe distance.
They are mostly found in wetland areas. The Grand Traverse Regional
Land Conservancy in years past has sponsored a morning hunt with a
snake specialist at the Skegemog Lake Wildlife Area, which I’ve gone
on. I’ve hunted them on my own in an area called Rattlesnake Hills.
It’s located northwest of Atlanta and the High Country Pathway crosses
them. You would think with a moniker like Rattlesnake Hills that
finding one would be a slam dunk.  Not so, but I’m still looking.
Maybe I’ll hit the Daily Double and see both a cougar and a massasauga
rattlesnake on the same day. That would be an outdoor column.

The last item, and probably the most easy to accomplish, is a
kayak/camping trip on one of our rivers; probably the Manistee River
just because it has more camping opportunities along its shores than
other area rivers. I get in a lot of time on area rivers each year,
but it’s always day tripping. I fantasize what it must have been like
during pioneer days when our frontier ancestors used the rivers to get
around Northern Michigan camping along river banks as they plied the
waterways; starry nights, the murmur of the river, a soft breeze
rustling the leaves, ah peace and contentment. Just don’t let a
massasauga crawl in my sleeping bag.
See you in our great outdoors.

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