We drove to Buchanan with the intention of visiting Trillium Ravine Plant Preserve, but since we started out at 7 a.m. I suggested going to a few other nearby places so the trillium had time to wake up . I got out my David Brown - Michigan County Atlas, and searched around the Buchanan area in Berrien County, Michigan. We don't usually visit city parks, or playgrounds but we do like somewhere with a trail and hopefully water.
Buchanan, Michigan Redbud City... Notice the swan on a nest near the sign.
On the map I found Redbud Park, Spafford-Lark Woods, McCoy Creek Rec. Area, Bakertown Fen Preserve, and down the road a few miles west of Buchanan is Mud Lake Bog. I did some research on Bing maps trying to find addresses for the GPS.
The first place we found was called Riverfront Park. Mostly a large, grassy, pull off, high above the St. Joseph River. A very beautiful view and right off we saw wildflowers, lots of wildflowers! We poked around a bit at this place then headed down the road to find Spafford-Lark Woods. We did see a sign along the road with the name of that place but there was no parking available.
St. Joseph River at Riverfront Park
Dutchman's BreechesSo we turned a corner and found McCoy's Creek Trail / E.B. Clark Woods. Nice place, hills, creek, trails. Wildflowers, too. We talked to a guy who was walking a dog, and he said he was finding Black Morels. All day long we were out with our noses to the ground, and never saw one morel.
McCoy Creek in Buchanan, Michigan
Our next stop, not counting the gas station for ice cream bars, was Bakertown Fen Preserve. Like I said earlier, I was able to get addresses from searching on Bing maps, we saw the sign, again no parking. So around another corner we go, we found the entrance and a place to park along the road.
There were wildflowers blooming here too, and I got a good
up-close look at Marsh Marigold, which is a favorite of mine. The yellow color of this flower is so deep and rich, and they usually grow right in the black mud at the edge of the water or even in the water.
There was a solid bridge here over the McCoy Creek, I saw some very bumpy amphibians...hugging.
McCoy Creek at Bakertown Fen Preserve
Then we came to a spot where the water was deep and fast with only a log across to reach the other side. We wisely turned back to the car.
There is a place called Mud Lake Bog about 4 miles from Buchanan. Marie and I visited there in 2009 (before this blog started) and at that time it was very flooded, so much that I didn't dare go on the boardwalk like Marie did. We drove to Mud Lake Bog and this time it wasn't flooded.
First we went up on the observation deck. Painted Turtles, seven on one log and several more around the small pond!
Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium Purpureum)
We climbed down and started around the boardwalk through the bog. Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calculata) Heath Family, was blooming everywhere. A bogful of Leatherleaf.
Pitcher Plant were busy catching insects, and I saw what I think is a liverwort.
Some sort of liverwort? Maybe Bog Liverwort, we were in a bog!
Mud Lake Bog is an interesting place.
Well that was the first half of our day, and in the next post I will tell about the last half of the day.