My visit to Proud Lake was totally unplanned. After a conference in Detroit, I had intended on spending a bit more time in "The D". But after a jog through a neighborhood near downtown, I had had enough of people and concrete and was looking to do some wandering through nature, which Michigan has plenty of. So after a 1 1/2 hour drive to go 40 miles, I was finally in Wixom. As an aside, that drive time may seem wonderful to Californians, and maybe those of you in southeast Michigan, but being from Lansing, I'm used to be able to go a lot farther than that in that amount of time on the freeways here. Long, slow commutes were never, and will never, be my thing.
So it was relief I exited the car for a too-brief walk at Proud Lake. It was a beautiful spring evening, but the trails were sparsely populated - everyone else was on the freeway. Though I had many options for my hiking pleasure, my time crunch thanks to awful rush hour traffic meant I had to keep it short. But there are maps at most trail intersections, and it was no problem keeping my walk to the allotted time.
Proud Lake is a very piney walk, predominantly red pines. The trails are hard-packed dirt and sand, the kind of ground that those pines likes. Red pines remind me of being farther north, and being farther north means vacation. So it was like a mini-vacation, and being off the road with those thousands of other cars did seem like being on vacation.
Several creeks and lakes can be found in the recreation area, and you'll probably see lots of ducks and geese relaxing in the warmer month. And completely unrelated to waterfowl, along the way, you'll see several plaques discussing the Indians who once lived in the area, and how they used the forest resources. You can enjoy a relaxing walk accomplished AND get smarter at the same time.
The trail also winds through swampy areas, some of my favorite spots during the spring because I get to hear frog talk. In the summer, these areas are probably not as fun do to the Michigan Air Force (i.e. mosquitos) move in, but my walk was bug free. And Proud Lake proudly boasts raised walkways over the swampiest of the swamps. Or wetlands, if you prefer - don't want to offend any sensibilities.
Proud Lake is a trail system I often forget about, but a happily remembered one on this visit, and the break I needed after a hectic drive home.