"Fall In The Thumb Is Fabulous"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, October 24, 2015

It only takes a few days for Mother Nature to change her display of colors. Most years color is abundant much earlier, but she held back this year.

Color seemed to burst through overnight and as usual in many beautiful shades. One notable difference: trees that are usually a deep purple (crimson king maple) turned dark brown very quickly. Another very unusual occurrence: many of our flowers that have entertained us all summer long are still bright and fresh looking (like my little primroses). Some have folded up their petals and dropped and strong winds this past week blew them around among the falling leaves.

The trip on M-25 from Port Austin to Caseville provides a vivid display of colors with great views of Lake Huron. Filion Road between M-53 and Caseville Road is another great viewing trip. Watch for the brilliant red colors tucked back in the woods on the north side of Filion Road — they are great.

If you cruise east along M-25 from Port Austin, various colors mix with the dark green of majestic pines. As you travel along, the deep blue of the lake will pop up, often with white-capped waves rolling in. Now that traffic is about nonexistent, a leisurely ride throughout the Thumb can be very relaxing. Remember to keep a sharp eye out for wildlife. Fresh cut fields attract flocks of swans and white geese. Some flocks are so big they turn whole fields pure white.

White, snowy owls have been known to adorn our area, soaring at elevations to watch for prey. They don’t stay long so have your camera ready for a rare shot. A sharp eye will also spot a deer or two. But with hunters in the woods, they usually hold back until after dark.

Another actual hazard along the roadways are the turkeys as they stroll the roadsides headed for the fresh meals in the harvested fields. Be careful because these silly birds will strut right out in front of a car and can make a mess of a grille. I’m sure we all have encountered another critter: the black animal with big white stripes. They are very abundant this time of year and if one of them runs in under your car you will be spending a lot of time washing its remnant’s away.

At sunset, wildlife is on the move. Raccoon families followed by deer dart out across the roads just as the light dims. Along the shoreline, many are headed for their big drinking fountain after hiding in the woods all day.

As you drive along the highways you will see fresh fruit on the trees on property near the road. Please don’t just stop and help yourself, some owners sell peaches, apples and pears for income. Others like to share with family members. But if you inquire, they may say you can pick a few this year because the trees have been so productive.

While negotiating the curves and ditches on the country roads, be especially wary of farm equipment. The vehicles are on the move as farmers pick, dig, grind and plow preparing their land for the coming crops. At harvest, farmers use some very bulky equipment and when they travel the back roads or occasionally main highways, they require more than one lane’s width. They may have to take part of an oncoming lane to avoid a mailbox, sign or tree jutting out. Prepare to give them a little extra room.

As I see it, fall in the Thumb is perhaps the very best season of all, especially when it keeps giving us some nice warm days like we experienced this past week. Did you get all your outside chores done?

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