Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finding Meadow Beauty and Autumn Coralroot!

So this very hot August day (92 degrees),  we decided on a road trip to Brown Sanctuary along the Paw Paw River in the northern section of Berrien County.

Sign for Brown Sanctuary
Paw Paw River from Brown Sanctuary

Paw Paw River

After Brown we went south to Grand Mere State Park and Natural Area.
We were driving north just into Van Buren County and stopped by Barvicks Dunes Nature Sanctuary.  But what I thought was the best part of the trip was a stop at Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve, where we found two plants I have been wanting to find.  First was the Autumn Coralroot!

Autumn Coralroot (This is an Orchid!)

And the best find of the day was, drum roll please...

Meadow Beauty

                         What a day to remember!

Sneaking away on a Thursday!

Yes this adventure was on Thursday.  I helped someone paint her shed so she had time to go wildflowering. 

Our first stop was near Rothbury Michigan (Oceana County) to see Northern Blazing Star, tall spires of purple flowers, nice.  
Next it was up to a special ditch somewhere in Oceana County to see Closed (or Bottle) Gentian.  Lovely.

         Trail at Gale's Pond
We also made our way to Gale's Pond.  This is a cool nature trail.    

Somewhere along the road in Oceana County
Then we painted a shed.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Laketown Township, Allegan County, Michigan 2010 08 23

Another adventure day with my sister, finally!  It was a long week, and our wildflowering trips are necessary for both of us.  Really. 
So where to go this week?  We decided on Laketown Township, just south of Holland Michigan.  We stopped and got info from the township hall, great maps, we like maps.

Farview Nature Park  87 acres, with a large pond, walking trails, boardwalks, picnic area, very nice.  
Nodding Ladies' Tresses

Round-leaved Sundew (right - those leaves are round)


So the trail here at Farview went through some interesting places - wet, wooded, mossy places.  This is a good place for a walk.
Next we headed over to Huyser Farm Park and Nature Preserve.  We picked some blueberries here as we walked through the field of blueberry bushes, yum.  Then over a small sandy creek to some remnants of farm buildings with what we think may be an American Chestnut tree. We could be wrong.

                                                American Chestnut ?

  Pond at Huyser Farm
Orange Hawkweed

After Huyser we drove by Gilligan Lake which does have public access and paved parking along the road, and Kelly Lake which has public access limited to foot traffic but we didn't see a good spot to pull off the road.

We also stopped at Wolters Woods 34 acres, a community park with a playground including a merry-go- round, hiking/skiing trails, picnic area.

There are many more parks in this township, Shore Acres, Sanctuary Woods, Laketown Beach, and Saugatuck Dunes State Park.      

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lake Michigan Beach Fun!

The beach is not my favorite place, usually, but sometimes it is the best place to be! 
Bring along one sister, one daughter, one son, and one grandson -
a sunshiny day on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan and it can be the most fun ever!

                                                                        Lake Michigan
Don't ask it was fun OK!
Oh there were clouds that day.
See the sailing ship out on the lake?

                                       What a fun and special day, I hope we can do it again soon.  For parks and access points along Lake Michigan check out this book
Michigan's west coast : explore the shore guide : a journey to 500 public parks and points of access
By Hutchins, Brian.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2010 08 16 Bass River Again?

So this sounds like we are stuck on Bass River Rec. Area and maybe we are.  That's one thing great about our adventures, we can pretty much go where we want, within reason, of course. 
Remember this area is huge, and even though we have been here many times we haven't been every where, there is always another trail or pond to explore.  This place is a former gravel pit, you know.  Is what I call Bass Lake really named Bass Lake?  I've found it called Max Lake on a Michigan.gov site.

I did learn from a fisherman recently that Bass River flows to the Grand River down around the southeast end of  "Max Lake".  I always thought Bass River was the little inlet at the southern edge of Max Lake, if I run into this fisherman again I'll ask him what the lake is called.
Road from the boat launch site at Max Lake
Closed Gentian (Gentiana clausa) Area

Closed Gentian 
We were pleasantly surprised to find these blooming!

Purple Gerardia

                    Might this be Unakite?

On the way home we made a quick stop at Odawa/Battle Point Launch.
Pickerelweed at Odawa/Battle Point Launch

...on to Prairie Park, Lemery Park, Tilma Nature Preserve, and Gezon Park

2010 08 09 When I knew we were going to Johnson Park (Walker Michigan), I looked for parks nearby, something with trails, water, or open places.  First I check out the Bing maps site online, then check city parks, nature preserves, areas that we may be able to pull off the side of the road, especially near rivers.  Within five miles of Johnson park I found several parks in the city of Wyoming, many I ruled out since they were neighborhood playgrounds, no woods, no water.
So after Johnson Park we headed to Prairie park which  is on Prairie Parkway SW, playground yes but also walking trails with 36 acres and I could see a footbridge on the map.  It turned out to be a nice park, the walking trails basically went to subdivisions.  Fun to have a park in the neighborhood.

Prairie Park, Wyoming, Michigan
Lemery Park is one and a half miles south of Prairie Park.  Buck Creek runs along the north side of Lemery and, pay attention now, Lemery park has a trail that connects to Buck Creek Nature Preserve to the east.  Lemery has 87 acres and lots of stuff like - Tennis Court, Basketball Courts, Little League Fields, Softball Field, Restrooms, Picnic Area, Fishing, Playground Equipment, Concession Stand, Walking Trail.
From Lemery Park looking west,
 Byron Center Ave SW,  Bridge over Buck Creek
George P. Tilma Nature Preserve is one of those places that if you didn't research you wouldn't find it.  Although it is listed on the Wyoming city website, but I don't remember any signs directing us to this place.  It is located at 2100 Sheri Lynn Drive and has 32 undeveloped acres, about a mile south of Lemery Park.

Tilma Nature Preserve is an interesting place.  Here are some pictures taken at Tilma. 

George P. Tilma Nature Preserve

 There were tons of frogs here! This one is so cute.

               At Tilma Nature Preserve Wyoming Michigan

After we enjoyed Tilma, we drove about 2 miles south and east to Gezon Park, (still in the city of Wyoming)  94 acres,  lots of ball fields, but also a walking trail.  There was a nicely  mowed trail mostly through a field.    

Tree at Gezon Park
A beautiful day at beautiful parks!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2010 08 09 Continue to Johnson Park

So after our quick stop at Bass we headed down M-45 (known to some old timers as M-50) still cloudy and raining.  We were going to the scenic drive at Johnson Park (Kent County), but when we arrived there, it had a locked gate.  So we headed up the scenic drive on foot and we probably saw more this way then if we had been in the car.

Along M-45

Virginia Creeper climbing a tree at Johnson Park

One of my favorites for the day!

Next time Prairie Park and beyond.  Check out Access Kent for parks in Kent County Michigan.  http://www.accesskent.com/CultureLeisureAndTransit/Parks/

Friday, August 13, 2010

Parks - Bass River, Johnson, Prairie, Lemery, Tilma Nature Preserve, Gezon

2010 08 09 It was a stormy morning, and still warm and humid, so we decided to jump around to different parks having time to spend in the air conditioning as we drove.  First stop Bass River Rec. Area to check out a flowering plant that we let go last week.  Entering at the eastern entrance someone drove (illegally) down the two track to a new pond area.  It was raining and very wet but we saw a beautiful display of Cardinal Flowers, lots of Frogfruit, bunches of Monkey Flower, and the mystery plant from last week.
Bass River Recreation Area

Cardinal Flower
Frogfruit (Phyla lanceolata)
Monkey Flower
To be continued...

Catching up on Bass River Rec. Area

2010 08 02 - We visited the east end of Bass River Rec. Area, (in Ottawa County, owned by Michigan Department of Natural Resources) it was hot, muggy, and buggy!  We visit one of our favorite hidden wet areas, and got to slosh around in our boots a bit.  Later we were wilting so we got in the van with the AC going full blast and did more wildflowering along the road.    

                                                   Looking east toward Bass River

                    Smartweed , Polygonum (Pink or Maybe Swamp)

Fringed Loosestrife

Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora)

                                                Red Dragonfly (not his real name)

Whorled Milkweed
   Swamp Milkweed

     Cardinal Flower
These are just some of the plants and wildflowers we saw, yes there were more!