electrical bike Chikaming mountain bike trails honor their founder. Plus fall colours and jellyfish. | Life
It was final 12 months. A lover of birds and nature, Kirk Schrader was puttering round by the mountain bike path that he’d conceived greater than 4 years in the past as a proposal to the Chikaming Township Park Board. A number of former volunteers had come to trip, impressed by the progress since their final go to.
Amongst them, Pierre Crevier of Stevensville straddled his two-wheeled steed. His years of volunteer work on different trails meant that he knew the sweat and love that goes into these hard-packed ribbons of filth.
“Hey Kirk,” Crevier referred to as out. “Thanks for having a dream.”
Schrader would have turned 56 final Wednesday, a day when dozens of individuals got here to trip the path in his reminiscence at Chikaming Township Park and Protect in Harbert, Mich., three miles southwest of Warren Dunes. Schrader, who’d labored as cemetery sexton for the township, had recruited lots of them to labor on the path, now greater than 6 miles and rising. Others hiked, led by his two grownup sons, Nick and Alex, as they pushed Schrader’s mountain bike.
His spouse, Janet Moore Schrader, and their sons had simply unveiled the brand new identify on the trailhead kiosk: Kirk Schrader Mountain Bike Trails.
Kirk died of most cancers simply earlier than Thanksgiving final 12 months, however his followers are carrying his dream forth. Chad Sperry has been main volunteer work crews. Keep tuned for a chance to assist with path constructing.
Janet says that, at first, Kirk had resisted the identify change, saying it was volunteers who made the path a actuality. Final Wednesday, Janet gave awards to 10 volunteers who’d poured at the least 50 hours into the path to date: Tony Dlouhy, Stefanie Brown, Rodney Summerscales, Tiffany Summerscales, Cory Schiller, Lanny Ross, Eric Nevalainen, Jack Kirkpatrick, Chad Sperry and Bruce Jones, plus service awards to J.V. Peacock and Pat Fisher for encouraging folks to get open air.
Janet envisions that “Kirk’s Journey” will return every year round his birthday as a path race.
That is one in every of 15 trails scattered throughout Michiana that hold mountain biking inside straightforward attain, thanks to numerous volunteer teams and parks. The Chikaming park is north of U.S. 12 on Warren Woods Street, simply east of Interstate 94 and 1.4 miles west of the Crimson Arrow Freeway. The path kiosk is within the parking zone.
You don’t need to go far. You positive can, and proper now you would possibly discover peak fall colours in Michigan’s Higher Peninsula and close to peak in northern elements of the Decrease Peninsula.
However a two-hour drive took me to a pal’s lake cottage final week right into a land of rolling terrain, plus a cluster of lakes and wetlands — water, the place autumn strikes earliest and most richly. It was north of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek and south of the state’s 5,200-acre Yankee Springs Recreation Area, which boasts trails for mountain climbing (30 miles), mountain biking (12 miles) and horse driving (10 miles). With bending and tree-lined roads, it felt prefer it was additional north.
After all, I did hike a little bit of the North Nation Nationwide Scenic Path that runs from North Dakota to New York (nps.gov/noco), monitoring throughout each of Michigan’s peninsulas. It will definitely results in a scenic stretch within the Huron-Manistee Nationwide Forest close to Cadillac identified for its oft-photographed “Little Mac” suspension foot bridge.
I picked up a wooded portion of the path by the comparatively small however scenic Corridor Lake, which has parking on Gun Lake Street in Yankee Springs. The Chief Noonday Chapter volunteers preserve entry to the path in Kalamazoo, Barry and Calhoun counties, posting updates on its Facebook page.
Earlier than that, I toured the undeveloped Corridor Lake in my kayak, tooling round its three color-tinged islands. I discovered freshwater jellyfish by the lily pads closest to the highway. Sure, jellyfish. Not a lot greater than your pinkie fingernail and innocent to people, they’re translucent, like a boring air bubble within the water, pulsing. Native to Asia, they seem in lakes in most states, together with Saugany Lake, north of Rolling Prairie, which doesn’t have public entry. However not in all waters. Retired researcher Terry Peard of Pennsylvania used to run a web site that listed the place they’ve been reported, however he says the information turned an excessive amount of for the positioning to accommodate. He nonetheless collects reviews of the jellyfish, although. They’re usually most seen in September-October.
There and at native waters, fall colours are putting, particularly the place a lake meets a wetland — and the place you’re prone to see a lot of the native, shrub-like swamp loosestrife that has turned a brilliant purple.
• Evening climbs: Rum Village Aerial Journey Park in South Bend has begun its night time climbs, that are every Friday via October. New this 12 months, strands of neon-colored lights will dangle from above, including to the twinkly lights on the primary platform and the star-shower lights from under. You’ll have a lamp in your helmet as you embark on two- or three-hour climbs beginning between 5 and eight p.m. The zombies gained’t return, Edge Adventures supervisor Sally Burch says, to keep away from scaring the youngest climbers. The season’s last Zip ‘n’ Sip will likely be a Thursday nightcap on Oct. 15: one hour of climbing beginning between 5 and eight p.m., then a flight of Crooked Ewe brew for $25. The season runs via Nov. 8 launching between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Burch says the aerial park has been staying at its pandemic capability, releasing 10 climbers each half hour until they’re all from the identical group. Gloves are required; you’ll be able to convey your individual or purchase a pair for $5 there. Normal value for a two-hour climb begins at $39.95 per grownup and $34.95 per youth ages 7-15. (800-590-8347, edgeadventureparks.com)
• Love path: A park naturalist will lead the Harbor Nation Hikers on a two-hour hike at 10 a.m. Saturday on the paths at Love Creek County Park, 9292 Huckleberry Street, Berrien Middle. Face masks are required at the entire group’s occasions.
• Owl banding: Every fall, guests wait with a hen knowledgeable on darkish, cool evenings for the tiny saw-whet owl to reach. The knowledgeable will fetch the migrating hen from the security of a internet, then take it indoors on the Indiana Dunes to measure and band the hen after which launch it. This analysis venture, now operating for greater than 10 years, will keep outdoors to thoughts COVID-19 security because it runs on choose nights from Oct. 15 via Nov. 15 on the Indiana Dunes Customer Middle close to Chesterton. Organizers at Indiana Audubon say that, should you e-book a time, you’ll must convey your individual garden chairs, heat clothes and face masks. Pre-registration for a $5 donation at indianaaudubon.org/events is required to restrict the variety of contributors to a most of 10. It fills up quick. Every demonstration will start at 7 p.m. Central in October and at 6 p.m. Central in November and run late into the night time. Among the classes will likely be livestreamed. The entire banding nights rely on the climate — excessive winds and storms don’t work effectively for the owls. Even in good climate, although, there’s no assure of seeing an owl.
• Brown County hues: Brown County State Park in southern Indiana is posting a photograph on Facebook from the identical spot every day of October to trace fall colours. You may vote on which day you contemplate “peak colour.”
• Fireplace tower reopens: A great place to peek at southern Indiana’s fall colours is from the highest of the hearth tower that reopened in August after many years of closure at McCormick’s Creek State Park, 250 McCormick’s Creek Park Street, Spencer. The tower had been closed within the Nineteen Eighties due to vandalism and security causes, the state Division of Pure Assets reviews. Final 12 months, the park’s associates group financed the tower’s restoration. The fireplace tower is now open to the general public from 9 a.m. to sundown via November. It would open just for interpretive packages from December via February, then reopen to most people in March. Related hearth towers in Indiana are additionally discovered at Tippecanoe River State Park in Winamac and Ouabache State Park south of Fort Wayne.