Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A small rural Michigan city, Belding

2010 10 25 Today Belding. Why Belding,  no one really knows- maybe because it is near enough to do a day trip, it's a new-to-us place, we like road trips sometimes.

We visited all of their parks, mostly city parks with the exception of Lightning Bend, which has 100 acres of mostly woods. The parks were nice but there were several old and impressive buildings in town.  I was surprised by these large brick buildings in the small town, who built them and why go to so much work?

This is what I learned about Belding. Settled in the 1850's, Belding's growth was the result of silk manufacturing established by Hiram H. Belding and Alvan N. Belding, for which the community was eventually named in 1871.

 From 1860 to 1890, the area flourished as a lumbering town with the Flat River playing a vital role in the economic development of the entire region of northeastern Ionia County.

This large factory building is known as the Jolly Kid plant,
which manufactured children's clothing. It was formerly
the Richardson's Mill, Belding's first silk factory
started in 1887.

Flat River
                                                            Along the way in Ottawa County
                                                 On the way Friske Drive in Kent County
We also had some good soup at Millie's Restaurant in Belding.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Grand River Park and later The Super Pier Challenge 300 2010!

2010 10 18  A beautiful autumn day in Michigan at Grand River Park, an Ottawa County Park in Georgetown Township.  This park has just about everything, upland woods, floodplain forest, restored native grasslands, wetlands, the Grand River, and a small lake.  

You can hike, bike, or ski the trails (3 miles) in this 162 acre park.  You can fish in the lake from a boardwalk, use the boat launch at the Grand River, or view the Grand River from an overlook platform.
Marie and I walked here on this day for over 6 hours!  It seemed more like two hours.  We had our boots, so we walked in the streams and found not only several Paw Paw trees but a large bunch of Paw Paw fruit!
 Fruit of the Paw Paw

Stream at Grand River Park where the Paw Paw grows.

We saw lots of flowers still blooming!


Heal All (Prunella vulgaris)
Cheeses (Malva neglecta)

Fall Color Along the Trail at Grand River Park

Grand River where it meets Millhouse Bayou
(this was on the way home from the car window )

Later this same day I was invited to participate in the
Super Pier Challenge 300 2010, with Betsy, Benjamin, and Ryan!  It was so cool, fun.  It gets dark here fairly early
      ~ 7:00 p.m. so part of the challenge was biked in the dark. 

Here are a couple of pictures that I took while pedaling along the pier in Grand Haven, Michigan.
Grand Haven Pier on Lake Michigan

What a great day! 

Ottawa County Parks Link   

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall color at Pickerel Lake Park and Luton Park

2010 10 11 With archery deer season happening now, we try to avoid those arrows.  So Pickerel Lake Kent County Park (no hunting) here we come. 
                  Pickerel Lake
 This place is just NE of Grand Rapids Michigan, south of Pando ski area.  We have walked around Pickerel Lake, this time we decided to walk the trails in the SW part of the park, Larch Trail, Sandy Knoll Trail. 
                             Pickerel Lake

Wood Frog (Rana Sylvatica) This friendly fellow was along the trail.

We moved on to Luton Park (6125 Kies Street Rockford, MI 49341). About a 6.5 mile drive from Pickerel Lake.

                                    Rum Creek
Luton Park (consisting of 264 acres of scenic walking paths and mountain bike trails Managed by the Kent County Parks. With the first of five planned biking trails completed, Luton Park will eventually feature a stacked loop of mountain biking trails totalling 6-7 miles) is more for bicyclist but it is OK to walk there too, just move aside for the bikes!

At the parking area Luton looks like a big piece of farm land (and it was) but Rum Creek flows through the park and we found great sections of undisturbed nature to explore. We will come back to Luton in the spring!

For more great parks explore

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

North with my sister Marie

 2010 October 4th and 5th Marie and I were able to have a two day adventure up north and it was beautiful weather!

Arcadia Scenic Turnout
Sunshine and blue sky. We left at 8 a.m. Monday morning and here is her list of stops from that first day.
  9:19 a.m.  Bar Lake Outlet (North of Manistee Michigan)
10:23  Arcadia Scenic Turnout
11:04  Boo Hoo View Road end
11:17  Upper Herring Lake Nature Preserve
(north of Arcadia)             
12:03  Fruithaven Forest Preserve
12:43  Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve
  ?:??   Public Access to Crystal Lake
  2:34  Railroad Point Natural Area (Crystal Lake  Area)
  3:21  Betsie River Access Site (south of Benzonia ~ 1 mile)
  4:11  Red Bridge River Access (Manistee River)
  4:53   "Cool Place" along Warfield Road
  5:15   Bryan's cabin #1
   Upper Herring Lake Nature Preserve
The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy 

   Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve

The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve
The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

 Manistee River at Red Bridge

 Wexford County Michigan

Seasonal Road in Manistee National Forest

  Near Harrietta Michigan

The next day, Tuesday, we drove to Brandybrook Semi-primitive Area by way of some gorgeous seasonal roads.  This place is just a few miles west of Cadilliac Michigan. 

We roamed about a bit in the thick underbrush, there are BEARS here, but we didn't see any.  We did see many Tamarack trees, flowers, ferns, just a neat place, so remote seeming.

We tooled around more back roads, some times only a two-track.  We ended up at the Silver Creek Pathway, which is north of Luther Michigan.  This trail, about a 3+ mile loop, crosses Silver Creek but mainly follows along the Pine River. 

After huffing and puffing a bit up the hills we reached the car, traveled west on US 10, then south on US 31 to Hart, having dinner at - yes, La Fiesta!

I dropped Marie at her door and drove the 33 miles home from her house to mine. We covered about 360 miles in those two days!

 We are lucky!

Hamilton Michigan and Allegan Forest

2010 09 29 Marie and I stopped at the George Schutmaat Memorial Park in Hamilton
Michigan on the Rabbit River.  There is a train trestle bridge there and waterfalls. 

To find this park as you travel south (SE) on M 40 (Lincoln Rd) turn east (NE) onto 47th street then south (SE) on Willyard.

Trestle Bridge over the Rabbit River in Hamilton Michigan

We saw one of our favorites, True Forget-me-not.
Then off to some interesting places in Allegan County, 133rd Avenue is one place we have found spring wildflowers blooming early, there is a train bridge here,  the road is one lane, date on the bridge is 1908!   

133rd Avenue Allegan County Michigan

See the train goes on the top, the one lane 133rd Avenue goes under the train bridge, the road goes over a small creek,  two bridges in one photo.  This year we found the train bridge has a fresh coat of paint.
Next off to Allegan Forest!  We went to check on the American Columbo (Frasera caroliniensis), this herbaceous plant can be 10 feet tall!  We saw this plant blooming earlier this year, now we found the dried stalks of the American Columbo!

American Columbo Blooming
 Close up of the American Columbo flower

Near here in a wonderful field we found Partridge Pea (Chamaechrista fasciculata).

We actually saw a fair amount of plants flowering, many types of Asters.
We also found Crooked Lake, down a somewhat scary two-track.
 After this we headed home and briefly visited the roadside park south of Grand Haven (Agnew?).
We have a list of parks and places we have been to together in the last four years, over 300 on the list and it is certainly not a completed list!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fern Dog Cabin #1

2010 10 24,25,26  Mike, Tilly, and I spent a couple days at the cabin (Thanks to my brother-in-law Bryan).  We all had a relaxing time and even walked 10 miles on just one hike!
We started our adventure at Gale's Pond an Oceana County Park (located on Filmore Road in Elbridge Township, 19 acres in size).  This is a nice little county park with a long boardwalk then a trail through cedars, hemlocks, and beautiful wildflowers.

                                            Gale's Pond Park

Just around the corner from Gale's Pond we spied a small woodland trail called The Doolittle Memorial Park.

We stopped in at the Crystal Lake Boat access and saw these beautiful Asters.
Then a quick stop at La Fiesta in Hart Michigan for lunch, cruising around some back roads and stopping off at lake or river access points.  One place was along the Pere Marquette National Scenic River, very nice.
The next morning we took a walk on the Manistee River Trail (one of our favorite trails).  We started at Red Bridge and walked north to the 5 mile marker turned around and walked back the 5 miles we had just come. 

It was a bit overcast and the trees were just starting to show some color.  We passed 80 different hikers, this was a Saturday, usually on a week day you might see a few hikers.
                      Manistee River

 Manistee River
  Along the Manistee River Trail

 Slagle Creek Bridge

 The last day of our outing we went through the Brandybrook Semiprimitive Area, just west of Cadillac Michigan.
                                          Brandybrook Area

We drove around west of Baldwin and walked the Bowman Lake Trail.  Just a short jaunt to a beautiful glacial depression.

 Then we headed home.