The leaves are gone and our topography is again revealed. Michigan's sand dunes are the best feature of the state, although yesterday was the start of deer season, so the tourism folks would rather promote gunplay than hiking. A law went into effect this year dropping the legal hunting age to 10. That is, with a "responsible" adult...which means to me just an older gun nut.
I don't mind the herd being thinned. I'm trying to grow a garden. Two weeks after buying a new car, A tiny green Ford. I hit a wild turkey and broke off the rear view mirror. A $444.00 repair. If the trees had been sparse, I'd have seen him coming and swerved, but leaves hide turkey and deer. Now they are exposed.
In the Western Michigan shoreline area, when leaves fall you are left with huge mountains of sand. Where it is stable, forest grows dense. But If the sand can move or shift, it will, and it doesn't allow ground cover. In places the slope to the lake is like a moonscape of white sand.
I can easily walk to a section of the county which had a "NO CLIMBING, BEACH GRASS RESTORATION" SIGN 30 years ago when I left, and it is still there. The trail (created by generations of kids seeking a high place to drink beer) will never fill in, and no cop will climb it. Climbing a sand dune means three steps up for every step gained. I have lost the ability and I'm not fat.
Yesterday, with the limbs empty again, I came across a monster of a tree house built while I was gone. Nailed to a Beech Tree rooted over a sheer of a dune. Some adults likely collaborated but it was for the kids. I'd live there. Beech grow here, and they grow enormous, fat trunks easy to climb and strong like ox.
These young fellows are doing just that. They are Jack Harris and Pat Kirkpatrick, it is 1930, and they are trying to break the worlds record for tree sitting. I do not know if they made it, but they seem fairly confident.
Original Press Photograph, 1930 NEA Chicago Bureau Photographer Unidentified Collection Jim Linderman