I awoke this morning on the Torch River to a beautiful red sunrise and incoming rain. Things were pretty quiet here and I thought I would have enough time for some hiking before any rain moved in. So I grabbed my gear and headed to the Grass River Nature Area about 7 miles away. A vast amount of the snow has melted in the last few weeks so the road into the nature area was closed because of mud. I was able to park near the entrance and headed out on the trail closest to the road.
One thing I have always enjoyed is hiking through Red Pine forests and that is how todays hike started out. I lingered in this area enjoying the pine scent and the filtered light through thee high branches. As I followed the trail out, I ran into some ice and snow on the trail. One shaded area still had knee deep snow that I had to work through. I crossed over an old railroad bed that has been converted to a trail and entered a more diverse forest area. I could hear many types of birds around me but they stayed hidden.
This stretch of trail proved a little more difficult with more standing water and large muddy areas. There were also a few mosquitoes flying low over the water. But all of these challenges are part of the fun of hiking and I moved on. My goal today was to reach the Grass River about a mile and a quarter away. After working through the flooded area I finally reach the main parking area.
From the parking area it is a short walk to the cabin used for programs by the nature area. As I reached the cabin I found myself surrounded by a small flock of very curious Black Capped Chickadees. I stopped to enjoy their company and was rewarded with several flying just over my shoulder as they moved from tree to tree.
It was then that the rain caught up with me. It started out as a light rain and I decided to sit in the pavilion by the cabin to see if it would quit. After about five minutes the rain increased. I dug my phone out of my pack so I could check the weather radar app. Looks like I was on the front edge of a heavy and prolonged rain. I debated about going on but decided I still had about a mile hike back to my car and I turned back.
The rain continued and the temperature dropped throughout the walk back to my car so it was a good choice. Since this weather was turning nasty I decided to check out some access points alone Torch Lake where I could stay close to my car. Though my time on the trail was cut short it was still a good day to be out on my first rainy day hike of the year.
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