Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

2013 January 11  
Our destination for this rainy day was Saugatuck Dunes State Park, a Michigan State Park.  Located on Lake Michigan in Allegan County.  This is a day use park with 1,120 acres, 14 miles of hiking trails through woods and sand dunes.  It has two miles of Lake Michigan beachfront.

We have visited this park several times before. This visit we struck off in a different direction, mostly following a waterway which looked like it had been dug long ago.  We are always attracted to water-  creeks, streams, swamps, ponds, rivers - we note the direction of flow, and research where the water flows to and where it came from.

So we started at the parking area and went north along the trail until the trail veered left, we headed right to be near the swampy area.  Soon we were on the back side of the dunes following this ditch.  Just in case you want to know, the water was flowing northwest.  After turning a 90 degree corner along this ditch the water was suddenly flowing west.  So the water was flowing in two directions, it met at the corner and disappeared under the ground!

We decided to continue north to see what was over the next rise.  More woods and then, a ditch appeared with water flowing north!  

This ditch had deep sides and had been dug more recently.  Why, and who dug it?  We assumed we were still in the park since we hadn't seen any boundary signs.

Somewhere along here in the woods, and these were very wet woods, with standing water to walk through, we came across an old travel trailer painted in a camouflage pattern.  It was in rough shape, with windows broken.  We wondered how anyone got it back in here.

After a bit we could see the roof of a house so we turned back. We had been at the base of a sand dune for most of our walk.  We went through the woods, up the hill and found we were on the ridge of a big dune. 

We had been down there.

                                 Now we are up here.

We could not see Lake Michigan from here.  We were on a trail, and went south to the parking area.

On the way home I felt something crawling on my neck, it was a TICK!  Well, we were following deer trails but a tick in January.

So even though it was a dark, rainy day, we found a new-to-us place to explore.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mount Pisgah Ottawa County

December 17 2012
Mount Pisgah is an Ottawa County park in Park Township, Holland, Michigan. This is very near the Holland State Park.  Here is a link for more information.

This is a busy place in the summer but on a cold December day it wasn't crowded.  We parked at Black Lake Boardwalk East, here you will find picnic tables, kayak access to Lake Macatawa, and fishing docks, this is also part of Historic Ottawa Beach Parks, as is Mt. Pisgah. 

You have a short walk back along Ottawa Beach Road to a gazebo with informational signs about Mt. Pisgah which is large sand dune.

From the top of Mount Pisgah on a cold, gray day in December looking at Lake Michigan.

It is 239 steps to the highest landing, with many landings and benches along the way up. It was worth the climb. After we got our fill of the view, we followed a level boardwalk that curved around behind the big dune. This boardwalk was built on the very steep backside of the dune.

This is looking east over Lake Macatawa.

 The boardwalk soon ends but a dirt trail leads you on. There are map signs along the way.  I was surprised that these trails were here.  I thought we would hoof it up the stairs and back down, so this was a pleasant surprise.

 In this shot you can barely see the boardwalk way up on the backside of Mount Pisgah.

After touring the Mt. Pisgah area we headed back to the car.  We went west towards the Holland State Park but first came to Black Lake Boardwalk West.  We found wildflowers blooming, and it was only 33 degrees!  Blooming were Evening Primrose, Hoary Alyssum, Queen Anne's Lace, Spotted Knapweed, a yellow mustard, and Bouncing Bet!     (Plants amaze me!)

After this adventure we went north and decided to stop in at Riley Trails, another Ottawa County park.  But there was work being done here, tree harvesting. 

So not much to say about Riley Trails, most of the trails were closed.  We took a short walk and moved on. 

By visiting Mount Pisgah, my sister Marie and I met a sort of milestone.  We have been to all of the Ottawa County Parks and Open Space Lands listed on their brochure, except for Ripps Bayou and Kuits Bayou which you can only reach by boat.  So that is 36 of the listed parks and places, some of these we have visited multiple times and covered extensively!  More on this next time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Truth Cam

Here are some new shots from my trail camera, I think the buck is the most interesting.  He has one small spike showing.  He was nibbling the pumpkin for about 22 minutes.  Then a dog came along and scared him away.  I got hundreds of pictures of the buck since I have the camera set to take 5 shots every time it senses a motion.  In some of the shots you can see whiskers right near the camera, which is about 3 feet off the ground on a tree.  I think the whiskers are from a raccoon, but I'm not sure.

Since I was busy with a sick puppy, then too sad to walk on the trail since the puppy had to be sent to puppy dog heaven, I hadn't checked the Truth Cam in 10 days.  So it was sort of nice when I finally made the lonely trip into the woods to the trail camera to find 100's of photos!

    Oh yum!  Looks like pumpkin for dinner.

    What are you looking at?

 Tastes like pumpkin.

 Smells like pumpkin.

 You're lookin' at my spike aren't you!  Well I call it my ANTLER!

    Best pumpkin I had today!


 I think some one is coming.





 So that's about what the camera saw for 10 days.  Maybe it is time to move it to a different place?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Muskegon State Park, Lost Lake

 This post goes way back to June 25, 2012 - Lost Lake.

This is a great place to find beautiful wildflowers.

This adventure was taken with my two other sisters, my usual wildflowering sister wasn't able to be with us this day.

The two photos below are of an orchid, and I think it is a Club-spur Orchid (Platanthera clavellata).  Please tell me if I am wrong.

Another Orchid we see here is Rose Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides) 

Next we found one Cross-Leaved Milkwort (Polygala cruciata aquilonia)
 of the Milkwort family

 I'll just call this next one bladderwort...it could be Horned, Humped, Common, or Northern.  
Well it is pretty against the blue sky.
 And did you know Bladderwort are carnivorous?  That I didn't

know. The "bladders", from which the common name

 is derived, are used to capture small aquatic

 organisms. Hairs at the opening of the bladder serve

 as triggers, and when contacted, mechanically cause

the trap to spring open, drawing in water and

 organisms like a vacuum. Enzymes and /or bacteria

 inside the traps aid in digestion. 

Below we have another carnivorous plant
Spatulate-leaved Sundew ( Drosera intermedia)
Sundews trap insects on the sticky hairs of their leaves, then digest them for nutrients.

One more carnivorous plant, Northern Pitcher-plant (Sarracenia purpurea), this plant was not blooming. But notice the hairs and the liquid at the bottom of the pitcher.


Narrow-leaved Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium),  Iris Family


    Fragrant Water-lily  (Nymphaea odorata)

The color of this Blue Flag Iris  (Iris versicolor) was very deep purple blue.

This is the trail that leads you to Lost Lake.
That is another catch up adventure from this past summer.