Friday, September 12, 2014

August 2014 Adventures in Ottawa County, Michigan

August 2014 was a time for wildflowering, hiking, kayaking, dune rides, and more concerts in the park.  Also a visit from our oldest son, and Mike's three sisters.
Later in the month we got to see this beauty, Virginia Meadow Beauty!  But first the month started with a day trip to Ludington State Park.

We picked up Marie to go for a hike at Ludington State Park in Mason County, Michigan.  We usually walk the Island trail and the Lost Lake trail, and that is what we did this time, with a few side trips.
Ludington State Park is situated between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake.  The trail runs through some islands along Hamlin Lake.
The red line shows where we walked, an easy 2 mile walk.  Of course we saw many amazing plants.
Kayaking another day, starting at East Grand River Park in Grand Haven.  We paddled west under the U.S. 31 highway, under the railroad bridge, under 3rd Street bridge.  Continuing west along Linear Park, around the power plant, then east under the railroad bridge, under the U.S. 31 drawbridge, and back to the park.

That's Benjamin, my grandson, looking up at the cars crossing the drawbridge.  

And Benjamin on an island! 
This year for Benjamin's birthday I got him a fishing pole and tackle box, we have gone fishing several times.  

Then up to the Silver Lake Dunes for an afternoon of "flying" over the dunes in a jeep, such fun.  Just kidding - sorry but I didn't think it was fun.
Vivienne didn't enjoy the jeep ride much either so we spent time finding lots of treasures in the woods.
I don't spend much time at the beach and pier in Grand Haven, but with out-of-towners that's the thing to do.  So a walk on the pier and sunset on Lake Michigan.

One August day my daughter, Betsy and I decided to take the kayaks out on our own.  We loaded up the boats in the trailer and towed them to East Grand River Park.  I really enjoyed this paddle, very relaxing.  We paddled about 7 miles round trip!  We even went under the Gidley Bridge, somewhat creepy. 
 This is a shot of going under Gidley Bridge.
After paddling that day Mike and I took a hike, not a walk, at Connor Bayou, an Ottawa County Park on the Grand River.  I say a hike because we walked all the trails, way out on the loop along the river and all the way back thorough the woods to the entrance where we parked.
 At Connor Bayou there is a log house that is available to rent.
 Sun setting along the Grand River.
 Below is a map of Connor Bayou Park.  Looking at the map I guess we walked about 2 1/2 miles but it was getting dark and I had paddled for hours in the afternoon so maybe that is why it seemed like a hike?

Later in August, Marie and I went to a place in Ottawa County and saw some amazing plants.  This place is especially fun because it has many small ponds.  Some of the ponds were dug out for sand, some are from high ground water levels.  We had so much fun here we came back the next week to explore a few more ponds.
 We named the ponds, this one is Peninsula Pond.  We came to see Virginia Meadow Beauty and we saw hundreds of these plants.
                    Virginia Meadow Beauty Rhexia virginica 
The plants were at all stages of flowering, hundreds had perfect blossoms.  Below is a shot of a large group of Meadow Beauty.
Virginia Meadow Beauty has a distinctive urn shaped fruit that Thoreau once compared to a tiny cream pitcher.
We also found a plant in the Gentian Family that we had never seen before called Bartonia. 
 One common name Yellow Screwstem, Bartonia virginica.
There is also a Bartonia paniculata but that is not as common in our area as the first Bartonia.  
    Nodding Ladies' Tresses were blooming, this is an orchid.

At one point we were walking along the trail and Marie was leading.  She saw a snake, a Blue Racer (Coluber constrictor foxi), on the trail near her feet.  The Blue Racer took off to our right and climbed out on a branch of a pine tree about 5 feet off the ground!  It was a big snake probably 4 to 5 feet long.  Here are a few shots of it in the tree.

 Blue Racer  It's head is to the right and its tail goes off to the left.
 Blue Racer  Now the head is on the left and tail looped through the branches.

 We also saw this thing!  I researched it online and came up with Oak Hedgehog Gall, what colors.
 In late August at Bass River Recreation Area, we saw a field of Cardinal Flower.
I guess that was most of August 2014.  I'm sure I forgot something but who will know, right?  I'm trying to get current with the blog because that is more interesting I think than old news.  I mostly do this blog to keep track of my adventures and I use my camera to record these fun times.  So sorry if I missed something, now onto September.


Anonymous said...

Your photos amaze me! It is a good record. M :-)

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks, Marie. We amaze each other sometimes. Your vast knowledge of all plants and my phenomenal recall of where we have seen them!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I was motivated to google PLANTS AMAZE ME as longing to see you gorgeous photos and of course read your clever prose. And how fun to see a reference to the 3 sisters' visit. Also amazed (no pun intended) to hear that you actually kayaked under Gidley Bridge. Hadn't a clue that was even possible. I tried to subscribe to PLANTS AMAZE ME as haven't received a notice in my in-box for ages, though was informed that I am already a subscriber. Not sure whether you can do anything from your end! Happy Autumn! d

Plants Amaze Me said...

Hi d, Yes you were officially included in a plantsamazeme post! Stardom. Betsy and I went under the bridge, actually a large culvert. She had a longer kayak and could not turn around once she entered the tube. I was in Benjamin's kayak, it is shorter. There were spiders hanging down at the sides. I thought the whole trip was brave of us!
Sorry you don't receive notices when I post. I get that same complaint from several people. I don't know why it doesn't work, maybe I will remove it from the blog. I can just send an email to anyone interested when I post. Happy Autumn to you!

Anonymous said...

You are such a good mom, you could have turned around in the tunnel but then I would have been scared and alone!! Haha! Love the post! -Betsy

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks. :) And Thanks.