Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

A long drive for a little walk


Earlier this week I decided to visit Chippewa Nature Center up in Midland. That’s about a two hour drive for me, but I kept seeing beautiful photos on a Facebook group of birds and animals that were taken there, and I’d never been. So, since I had one day free and the weather wasn’t too horrible, I decided to buzz up there and see what I could see.

I almost didn’t put tights on under my jeans before I left, and I’m so glad I did because it was much colder up there and the wind was blowing. Great. Once I arrived I studied the map at the parking lot trying to figure out where the trailhead was. It wasn’t very clear, so I wandered a bit and ended up on a paved path designed for preschoolers. The little trail looped around a school. This was the only picture I took.

Preschoolers dressed for winter fun.

Then I went and figured out where the adult trails were, but they were covered in ice and even though I had my Yax grippers with me I didn’t think it looked very fun to creep along the ice on a trail that I had never been on before. Alone.

So I decided to come back another day, after things thawed out a bit. But because I was very near the Midland Park where I had once seen eagles, I stopped by on my way home. No eagles were flying, but I did see two eagles on their nest. Unfortunately the nest isn’t anywhere close to parking, so no pictures. But still cool.

And then, on the way home, having taken only one picture (unheard of for me!) I decided since I was driving right past, I’d stop at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, a favorite place of mine. I was hoping I would find eagles on the nest I’d seen last time I was there.

On the road out to the refuge I had to stop to shoot this barn. I’ve loved it before, but it was especially pretty with the light that morning.

It’s the tree that makes this barn beautiful.

And this one, too, a little further down the road. Now, even if I saw nothing else, I’d at least have shot three things on this adventure. Some kids and a couple barns.

I’m a sucker for a barn and a row of trees.

There was no one at the refuge when I got there. I was arriving later in the day than normal, but I was still hoping to see those eagles…

So far so good, easy walking and no ice!

…until I got to the T in the trail and to the right, the way I needed to go, looked like this.

That’s a bench up there on the left, but I’m not going to sit on it.

Hmmmm…I could put on the cleats. But still, I was alone out there — if I fell it would be a long time before someone came to help. It didnt seem worth the risk.

Turning left there was a ‘nature viewing’ shack. I’d never investigated it before, and the trail was clear that way so I figured why not.

What’s that back there?

This is the view. Uninspiring.

Well, the trees are nice…

I took the heavy long lens off the camera and put my regular lens back on and decided I’d just go for artsy fartsy pictures on the mile long walk back to the car. So that’s what you’r going to get for the rest of this post. I don’t imagine you’ll mind too much.

There was some beaver damage on downed trees. Not really artsy fartsy, but interesting.

Those beaver have some big teeth!

And a huge tree limb that had fallen across the trail with beautiful insect tracks.

Reminded me of petroglyphs somehow.

I originally thought it was a limb from an ash tree because of the bug trails…but the tree this limb fell from looked like a hickory tree, so I don’t know what caused the damage. I spent a long time taking pictures of the naked limbs with the beautiful but sad markings.

These marks aren’t the same as what I’ve seen made by the ash beetle.

And closer to the car the ice, as long as I wasn’t walking on it, was beautiful too.

In a black and white winter world there was still plenty of color.

Even a bit of frozen grass could be seen as art.

I thought the colors were a perfect representation of winter in Michigan.

And fungus on a stick was certainly beautiful too.

Up close, the better to appreciate the wonder of it.

Back at the parking lot I shot the farm that was way off across a field, and that was the end of the photographic adventure for the day.

One last farm.

Oh! I did see a couple cardinals. Not that I can’t see those at home, but still…it was wildlife.

Hey Lady! I’m right here!

The grand total was some kids, some ice, some dead tree limbs and a bird or two. Not what I went looking for. But it was still fun. I got out of the house, in the fresh (cold) air with my camera. You can’t always choose what you get to shoot, but you can always turn it into something worthwhile.


Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

17 thoughts on “A long drive for a little walk

  1. Sorry the walk was so short, but you got lots of nice pictures from your trip, and that’s not nothing.


  2. Even though your day did not go as you had hoped, a few more barns were added to your collection. Some of the bug trails look like bundles of gathered wheat. Beautiful textures and patterns in the fungus. I am so glad that you decided not to venture on the icy path. Too high risk of a fall. Thank you for letting us tag along on your adventures. 😊


  3. I’m glad you opted to stay safe – and I enjoyed the pictures you did get. And the fresh air, albeit cold, yeah, it was a winner.


  4. The barns with the trees are pretty. Isn’t it interesting how one tree, or even a row of trees, just make a photo? Maybe not what you hoped for, but still some great shots.


  5. I think it’s akin to making lemonade out of lemons. You didn’t get what you hoped for, but you got some mighty fine photos anyway. I can’t help loving the barns and those tree limbs. And there’s something special about male cardinals against a winter white background!


  6. Oh gosh, you can shoot barns any time, that’s just fine with me! I love them, and you seem to find lots of them, and in really good light too, or probably you know how to shoot in various types of light. I really like the story of your journey here, which path to take, etc. And I LOVE the wood photos, and the frozen grass, and the fungus, and the cardinal. sigh, I can’t even pick a favorite photo, too many favorites. 🙂 Ok, the wood … oops no the cardinal … no actually the frozen grass … I give up. 🙂


    • LOL. My favorite is the frozen grass. I noticed it on the walk out, and made sure to get it with the regular lens on the walk back. Much of Michigan is rural so finding barns, in most any direction from where I live is not hard.


  7. Beautiful winter photos. I like the muted colors of winter. I’m sorry the walk was a short one, but what a fun adventure anyhow. That tree + barn photo is stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your concluding synopsis of your trip killed me. You funny lady.


  9. Pingback: Walktober 2022, Chippewa Nature Center, Midland Michigan | Change Is Hard

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