Cold Enough?

It wouldn’t be a surprise if some furnaces at Clark Lake cottages popped on during the night.  Recent weather has been cool.  The June average high is 79, and low, 56.  But was it cold enough to cause a dusting of this along Hayes Drive?

Even though it looks suspiciously like snow, it is the likely production of cottonwood trees.  The Mother Nature Network website comments “these trees grow very tall and have large leaves, although their most noticeable aspect is their cotton-like seeds during the summer. These often accumulate on the ground under the trees, and in places where there are large volumes of cottonwood trees, it can almost look like there is snow on the ground.” 

And then there are those wormy things descending from oak trees.  The SF Gate website says they are catkins “that drape gracefully from the ends of their branches. If your tree is shedding stringy stuff in spring, it might be engaging in its annual flowering where the long male catkins let loose pounds of yellow pollen and then fall from the tree as new leaves push them out.”

Oak trees aren’t alone in producing catkins.  If you have a hickory tree nearby, you are well aware of this.

According to Wikipedia, these catkins are the hickory tree’s version of a flower.  At Clark Lake, they arrived after the Oak catkins made their appearance.

If raking catkins seems like a chore, nature’s splendor around the lake makes up for it.  Recently this website told the story of the Garden Angels

Others around the lake enhance natural beauty as well.  The triangle at Hyde and North Lake Roads, manicured by Dr. Lynn VanWagnen is an example.

You don’t have to look far to find other displays.  This spring these locations along the Spirit Trail were putting on a show of their own.


The Beach Bar’s Gear Garage

Gone is the old storage building across from the Beach Bar.  In its place are the beginnings of an attractive new building–the Beach Bar Gear Garage.  As the name implies, it is there you will find Beach Bar branded favorites–hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, swim trunks, and towels.  Convenience items like coolers, ice, bait, and outboard motor oil are expected to be available.  

The building project is proceeding under the watchful eye of Mike McKay.  His company, M-R Builder, is responsible for building or upgrading some 100 homes that line the shore of Clark Lake. Add to that the Pointe Bar and Grill.  Mike’s eye for what looks great is bound to result in another eye-appealing Clark Lake landmark.

For those who moor their raft or boat at the Marina, there’s another plus–the new building will house rest room facilities and showers.

Click here for the video and story of the demolition of the old structure, including comments from Mike McKay.

I-94 Closure on June 11th

From the Jackson County Department of Transportation:

“On Sunday, June 11, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), with assistance from the Michigan State Police, will close both the westbound and eastbound lanes of I-94 between Michigan Avenue and Parma Road, near mile marker 129. This closure is planned so Consumers Energy can install new overhead lines. Please seek alternate routes during this closure.”

Clark Lake’s Sunday Phenomena

It happens most Sundays during the season.  At 7:30 pm there is a marked cessation of activity on the lake.  If noisy, the lake is suddenly quiet.  If busy with boats, the last waves from them wash to shore.  Those who spent the weekend boating, swimming, on the Spirit Trail or just relaxing are returning from whence they came.  After all, it is just a few short hours before the new week begins, and not everyone can spend it at the lake.  As a result, there were some empty seats available for the sunset tonight.  So please choose your favorite color, and enjoy tonight’s show, no matter where you are.

As the sun headed for the horizon it was so bright you could not look at it.  The best viewing position was to look away to the east and take in the golden glow it projected on trees, boats, and cottages.  Next the sun began to slip behind a bank of clouds, and this was the result.

But that wasn’t the end of the show. 

Once again a direct view of the sun emerged.  It seemed very near–as if you could draw a smiley face on it.

Once the sun slipped behind the trees at the head-of-the-lake, the afterglow illuminated the northwestern sky.

A few minutes later, and a close up revealed this.

A few cottages to the north, Bill Leutz was standing in the water, noting something else–the images the sunset created on the water and sandy bottom close to the shoreline.

Finally, the afterglow brought out shades of pink, purple, and blue against swirls of gold.

Superlative Sunset

Sometimes the English language falls short of superlatives to describe Clark Lake’s sunset.  As you will see from these views, a thorough dictionary search is in order.

The next three views provide a time lapse lasting about thirty minutes.

And it kept getting better.

Finally there was a touch of pink and purple as dusk claimed the sky.

As the sun headed toward the horizon, these chairs said “come back tomorrow.”

Bathed in sunset gold, these four echoed the invitation.

If this was the finale, what was the lead-in?  The humidity was low, the sun was high in the sky.  Clark Lake was welcoming the summer season with open arms.

The lure worked. Boating activity suggested “the weekend is here.”

There was just enough breeze to keep it interesting for sailors.  Clark Lake has not seen Lightning class sailboats for awhile.  This one was spotted today.

Meanwhile, the swan family occupied the County Park cove.

There seem to be fewer ducks on the lake this spring, but this one appears to enjoy the solitude.

Clark Lake Is Living Up to Its Reputation

More and more, people know about Clark Lake’s amazing sunsets.  Below, you’ll find some views of tonight’s sunset.  As the awesome display occurs in the western sky, what’s happening on the shore?  Scroll down past the sunset views to find out.  

What’s happening along the Clark Lake shoreline?  People walk out on their docks, smartphones come out positioned to capture the moment, and some just simply enjoy the moment.

Clark Lake Memorial Day Parade 2017

The biggest-little parade seemed bigger this year–both in the number of participants and spectators.  The Clark Lake Lions Club organizes this activity every Memorial Day.  The parade assembles at the schoolhouse on North Lake Road.  It proceeds south on Hyde Road and turns around at the Township Park and heads north.  The highlights below spotlight the trip south, and ends with the kids as the parade heads north.

The meaning of Memorial Day is not lost at Clark Lake.  As the parade heads north, the assembly pauses at the cemetery where some who were lost in battle rest. This video commences with a prayer given by Lions Club President Mike Bullinger.  It is followed by the playing of taps–first from the front of the cemetery, and then echoed from the rear.

Dick Tallman delivered the Memorial Day address in front of the Clark Lake Community Church.  Dick is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and many know him as a prominent State Farm agent in Napoleon.  Here is an excerpt.

A crowd favorite is to watch the kids in the parade on decorated bikes.  At the end of the event, each was given a two-dollar bill as a memento of their participation.  Also in the slide show below, you’ll also see the Raft-O-Rama float which, appropriately enough, is a raft.  Many of the past Spirit Award recipients were on board.  

The Columbia Central Band played our National Anthem as the spectators and participants gathered at the Clark Lake Community Church.

The Director of the Columbia Central Band, Joe Folts, is retiring. The band has been a longtime participant at the Clark Lake Memorial Day Parade.  He was honored by the Clark Lake Lions Club.


The Biggest Little Parade Update

Clark Lake’s Memorial Day parade is gearing up for tomorrow (Monday) morning.  This annual commences at 8:30 am and moves from north to south on Hyde Road, and then turns around at the Township Park and heads north.  Once heading north, the parade will stop in front of the Columbia Township Cemetery where two members of the Columbia Central Band will play taps–first at the front of the cemetery, and then echoed at the rear, a very moving experience. 

Community groups participating include Raft-O-Rama.  Joe Collins says the committee is inviting all past Spirit Award recipients to join them on the R-O-R float, which, of course, will be a raft on wheels.  Participants should assemble not later than 8 am at the schoolhouse on North Lake Road. 

Spectators will also see the Columbia Central Band, Junior ROTC Color Guard, Napoleon Lions Band, fire trucks, police car, decorated golf carts, bikes, horses, and cars old and new. Each child, 12 and under, who participates in the parade will be awarded a two dollar bill.

The focus of the three day Memorial Day holiday is not lost at Clark Lake which is why the Lions Club works hard to commemorates it through this event.  Each  year there is a touching salute to those in the military who died in service to our country.  This year Dick Tallman will deliver the Memorial Day address in front of the Clark Lake Community Church on Hyde Road.  Dick is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and many will remember him as a prominent State Farm agent in Napoleon.

To review past Memorial Day events, click on the year — 2016, 2015, 2014

The Season Begins

Memorial Day opens the door to the new season, and Saturday’s activity on the lake confirmed it.  Yet not all docks, boats and lifts are in place, as the photo below suggests.  If the admonition “be careful” ever applied, it certainly does here.

As the sun headed for the northwest sky, Clark Lakers wondered if one of the remarkable sunsets were headed our way.

The waning day did not stop lake activity.  It seemed to speed up, as if to say — there’s only a short time left to enjoy daylight.

Kayaks and paddle boards were out enjoying the last of the daylight.  Perhaps that was the subject of the text message.

Before setting, the sun hid behind a cloud bank.  And as it lowered, the northwest sky turned brilliant.

When observing a Clark Lake sunset, it pays to look elsewhere.  In this case, a jet contrail added to a picture perfect overhead view.

A kayak and paddle board duo entered the view creating a portrait that looks as if it could hang in a museum.

The season may be underway, but that did not deter this family.  These goslings are fortunate.  They have two devoted adults looking after them, and the offspring seem to respect their elders. This may be why the goose population has exploded, leading some to ask Canada to repatriate these creatures.

Finally, as dusk took hold, enjoying Clark Lake did not end for those on this raft or the others still on the water.

Ladies Night Out Wine Tasting 2017

One hundred of Clark Lake’s finest ladies come together every year to support the Clark Lake Spirit Trail.  Kelly Petitto and and Ann Swain explain.

The event took place once again at the Beach Bar on Thursday, May 25th.  And once again in the Clark Lake tradition, spirits were lifted as ladies renewed friendships, discovered new ones, and perhaps shared a secret or two.  Only two men were allowed, and for that, only a short time.  This was a night for and about the ladies. 

The Clark Lake Spirit Trail is a cherished community project.  Read more about it by clicking here.

Spirit Trail: County Park