Submitted by: Stephen Lehman
For the busy adventurer Location: https://goo.gl/maps/SBL9TQUsRKN2 Cost: Free Hours: Changes Seasonally, closed during winter What to expect: trails, river, beauty
The trees were almost talking to one another. At least, that’s what it seemed, when I pulled into the Warren Woods parking lot. Warren Woods is located in Three Oaks, MI and is quietly hidden away among the southwestern Michigan countryside. I noticed quite a few cars in the parking lot which I’ll admit, surprised me. I immediately grabbed my camera and walked straight into the woods. The landscape reminded me of my childhood growing up near the Vermillion River in East Central Illinois. There was a good mix of new and aged trees. The autumn colors were in full bloom and as I walked deeper into the woods I began to feel lost.
Just as I thought I was away from civilization, I was met with a board filled with information on the park, a few benches, and an inviting set of stairs. Even though I was brought back to reality for a moment, I knew I was in for an adventure. I walked down the stairs and continued down the trail. The sense of lostness quickly returned. It seemed like there was an abundance of standing water near the banks of the Galien River.
Above is a photo of one of the places in particular. I think these valleys gave way to the nostalgic and almost mystical feeling I had. “Don’t venture there, but just look from a distance” seemed to be the talk of the woods. Ok, so maybe my imagination was running a little wild, but it makes it a lot more fun right? I kept wandering through the trails until I came out on Three Oaks Rd. where there was another entrance to Warren Woods. There were a few vehicles parked along the road there as well. I decided that turning around was the best option, since I’d rather not walk down a country road in the woods with blind turns and hills. I found a different trail to get back that took me along the river. I clearly chose the right path. The next few photos will help you understand exactly why.
I found a giant tree that had created a natural bridge across a smaller section of the river (I’m standing on it in the photo above). Of course, I had to walk out on it! Sure, I could’ve fallen, but all that would have happened was that I would have gotten wet and my camera might have gotten ruined, but isn’t that worth an experience and perspective you’ll never forget? The scene in front of me was incredible, and then I turned around and saw one of the most picturesque scenes I’ve seen in a while.
I wish I could use emoji’s to describe my emotions during this moment, but that probably wouldn’t be appropriate. Regardless of how I express them, just know that it’s something you need to experience for yourself. If you want to get to this spot, cross the bridge and look for the trail on the right that seems less traveled. If you make it there before the leaves fall, count yourself fortunate. The autumn scene here in Warren Woods was right out of a National Geographic magazine. After taking ample time to soak in this moment, I moved back towards the bridge, backtracking my steps to the car. I caught one more photo of the bridge.
I’m not sure if the bridge stood still just for me or not, but again, this moment seemed way too perfect to be real. My suggestion to you is to go see all of this for yourself. Warren Woods is breathtaking and would be great for anyone, no matter what age, or how busy. Take your kids on a few hour adventure, then buy them milkshakes even if it’s too cold outside. Do something out of the ordinary, purposefully create a moment that you’ll remember forever, or find a friend who wants to adventure with you. Whatever you do today, just say yes. Go find something new!
Until next time my friends,