Northwoods Journal 4/20/2013

White-tailed deer on the trail.

White-tailed deer on the trail.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The beagles must have been exhausted from our long hike yesterday evening.  They let us sleep in until 8 o’clock, something that’s practically unheard of!  We woke to a light dusting of snow and the outdoor thermometer read a chilly 20 degrees.  Northern Michigan must have missed the memo saying it’s spring!  It was only 50 in the living room and I thought the water line to the bathroom was frozen when I turned on the tap and nothing happened for a few seconds.  Thankfully, it started slow but the water did run!

The sky is still filled with low, gray clouds, although there are areas where blue is trying desperately to break through.  It is still spitting snow and periodically the wind kicks up pretty hard.  The same visitors to the bird feeders as yesterday – chick-a-dees and white and red-breasted nuthatches.  I spied a male yellow-bellied sapsucker back in about 25 yards but he hasn’t ventured in close enough to find the suet cakes yet.  I normally get a bevy of blue jays and I have to say I’m missing their raucous calls and their bright flashes of color.

Since it was snowing and blowing we decided to take the long trek (about 38 miles) to Gaylord to find a wi-fi access.  Our cabin has no TV, phone or internet and Atlanta only has about two places to get free wi-fi.  One is the coffee house, which has very sporadic hours (and yesterday their wi-fi was down) or the bar where they always look at us with extreme suspicion every time we walk in with our laptops.  It’s not the kind of place where you order a cup of coffee and just hang out, surfing the internet.  We did find a Tim Horton’s in Gaylord.  I was able to upload yesterday’s journal entry but their internet was so slow that I was unable to post any photos.  I will have to add them once I am home.

There were times the snow came down like a blizzard but it didn’t really stick.  By time we headed “home”, the sun was trying its best to come out.  We had purchased a new bird feeder at Tractor Supply, as one of mine broke in yesterday’s heavy winds.  It seems to have met with my feathered friends’ approval.  There was a bit more bird activity this afternoon and along with the chick-a-dees and nuthatches we also had dark-eyed juncos, a hairy woodpecker, a couple purple finches and a brown creeper.

The dogs, of course, were anxious for their hike so we drove to where a couple of ATV trails cross and walked a motorcycle trail for a good way before branching off onto a barely discernible logging trail.  Eventually it came out in a gas field and of course Mark knew exactly where we were.  I’m always a bit amazed at that, as we’ve hiked so many trails and seen so many gas fields that they all begin to look the same to me.  It was a bit of a walk back to the FJ, part of it straight into the icy wind, but the dogs’ tails were all still up when we reached our vehicle.  We did see four deer while we were out and I was actually able to get a picture of two of them.  I’m surprised it turned out.  I was hanging out the window and couldn’t really even see what I was aiming at.  I just zoomed in as far as I could and took the picture blind!

The sun finally won its battle with the clouds and the sky cleared by evening.  We went for one last drive to look for wildlife and to walk the dogs a couple of times.  We went over near the High Country Pathway area where they clear-cut two summers ago.  We walked a two-track back in and then cut across on a well-worn game trail.  Daisy led the way with her nose glued to the ground.  She was in heaven!  Didn’t see much while we were out, only ten deer.  Mark and I are tired and all this exercise is catching up with Ruby who is still really just a pup, so we returned to the cabin before dark.

We will pay for the clear skies tonight, as the temps are supposed to drop down into the teens.  I will be thankful for my electric blanket!

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