2011 November 14
Pigeon Creek Park was our destination, it was very cloudy and 40 degrees. I wanted to check out the southwest section of this park. On Bing maps I could see a bridge over the Pigeon River/Creek and it was on Ottawa County property so that is where we explored.
We found the bridge. It is quite a bridge, solid, wide, wood - who built this bridge? It appears the bridge is the division line of the property between Ottawa County and Turkey City Partnership.
The Ottawa County property continues on the south side of Pigeon Creek so we explored there.
Back to the bridge, we looked for a name or something to identify who might have built it. The bridge is not high off the water but has massive wooden beams and pilings, the only words we found were on round plates on the top side of the bridge, each had a big nut holding a long rod, printed on it was - MALLEABLE 3/4" and a symbol in a square. It took a pile of lumber to make this bridge.
We went north along the two-track past the bridge, there were ditches on each side here, Marie found Skunk Cabbage! It will open and bloom in early spring.
Then off we went to the east following a deer trail through the muck soon we turned north to the real park trail. We were on Hemlock Path and came to an overlook.
At some point after this we went back into the swampy area to explore, we do have fun. We headed south and saw Pigeon Creek, flowing swiftly, we were stepping from tussock to tussock to avoid the deep mud.
Then I started finding Liverwort!
Here is a website to learn more about Liverwort, http://www.backyardnature.net/liverwrt.htm.
We were trying to find higher ground, when we came to a slight mound on which several trees were growing. Marie noticed the green gray and brown mauve bark on one of the trees. We had seen several Hemlocks but this bark was different. We looked up to the top of this magnificent tree and found it was a Larch!
At the parking lot of Pigeon Creek Park, growing in the sand, are many Larch
(also called Tamarack). It is a deciduous coniferous tree, not an evergreen.
We were still way out in the swamp with cattails one way, the creek and mud the other way. We don't like to back track. I could barely see a larger group of trees on a hill, we had to maneuver over some standing water but were able to make it up to the hill and right in front of us was the trail.
We finished our walk on the boardwalks near the creek again and up the Orchid trail. We got back to the van, famished. We had been walking for 4 hours and 40 minutes. A fun day filled with just enough adventure.
Ottawa County has so much going on at the parks, here is a link to their current newsletter. http://www.miottawa.org/ParksVI/Parks/pdf/newsletters/winter2011-12.pdf