We have had some Michigan Department of Natural Resources property on our radar for a couple of years. It is some place right here in Ottawa County that we have never been to.
We have been to many places in the 6 1/2 years that we have been going on weekly adventures (year round). We made a park and places list, and it isn't up to date, but we have over 300 different park or places of special interest on that list that we have visited. Of course we have revisited many places several times.
This trip takes us to the confluence of two rivers, Bass and Grand, we walked 6 miles total for the day, and had an encounter with a snake.
We parked at the road because the two track in was a little dicey. We found a plaque on a rock something about Ducks Unlimited. This is more of a hunting place than hiking.
It was warm even when we started out early in the morning. The sun was turning things golden ahead of us but behind us in the shadows it was still misty and gray.
We saw Skunk Cabbage, Purple Dead Nettle, and Northern Spicebush (Linders benzoin) blooming right away.
Sandhill Cranes were in the fields, they knew we were there before we knew they were there. I hope we didn't disturb them too much. They must be doing OK since a flock of 30 Sandhill Cranes flew over the house the other day.
Sandhill Crane, see them in the center of the picture?
We saw Sycamore trees and beautiful Bur Oak trees, then we found several groups of violets, maybe Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)? Violets are hard to ID, sometimes it is OK to just know it's a violet.
We found False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum) Buttercup family.
Here are just some shots of what we saw as we walked.
We heard tons of frogs, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, this is perfect.
Strawberry plant leaf with dew.
And we saw our first dandelion blooming, I know it's a bad weed but it sure is pretty.
After almost 2 miles of walking we found the confluence of the two rivers. We have been on the other side of this water but we have wanted to come here for a long time and now we did it!
A little island on the Grand River.
Part of Bass River
Heading back to the car I spied this snake in the grass, and I haven't been able to identify it. I detained it briefly (and gently) which the snake didn't like, and it lunged at me. The snake was ~ two feet long, had a very red tongue with a black tip. We thought it had a sort of checkerboard pattern, was it an Eastern Garter Snake? After a few pictures and a video of it lunging at us, we left the poor thing alone. No snakes were injured while I was taking these photos, although it may have had a nightmare or two.Go away or I will bite you!
SnakeWe had been out about 4 hours and walked 4 miles, we do take it slow and enjoy. Back at the car it was 78 hot degrees.
Down the road we go to Lincoln Street to check out some Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica) of the Hyacinth family, a non-native to Michigan.
We stopped off at Riverside Park (Ottawa County) and ended up walking to the point so that was the other 2 miles for our day.
Virginia Spring Beauty (Clayton virginia) Purslane Family
There is a Carolina Spring Beauty that grows near here but those have stem leaves that are oval not linear like these.
Bloot Root (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Well that's where I will end with this trip, another fun time.