Friday, October 31, 2014

The Colorful Month Of October!

Fall has been an amazing season in Michigan, the color of the leaves have lasted all the way through October.  There have been many cloudy days but the golden glow from the trees seems to brighten up everything around them.  I visited many parks and places in October, here are a few highlights.  I hope you enjoy them.

Hofma Preserve in Grand Haven Township, Ottawa County - October 10, 2014.
Hofma Preserve has 324.77 acres with approximately 4.5 miles of trails, an 885 foot floating bridge, 17 space parking area and a restroom.
Next, Long Lake in Kent County, October 13.  It was very foggy the day we were here.  The trees were colorful if only you could see them through the fog.  It did clear up a bit later on in the day.
Marie found Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens Madder family) blooming!  This small vine is slightly woody, forming a low mat of evergreen leaves up to 4" tall and 1' or more across. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer.  This plant was blooming , October 13!
The same day we also went to Pickerel Lake.  The fog had lifted some, the colors were great even on a cloudy day.

    I found this guy near the boardwalk at Pickerel Lake.
Along a trail at Pickerel Lake Park.

October 17th Betsy and I went to Kirk Park in Ottawa County along Lake Michigan.  The wind picked up and we had acorns almost the size of golf balls (well they seemed that big at the time!) raining down on us!  There are many stairs at Kirk Park so we really got some exercise.

October 21st, it was Aman Park in Ottawa County with Marie.  Again it wasn't sunny but still very yellow gold everywhere.  We walked the trail to the north, and then all along Sand Creek to the southern bridge.
 We also stopped at Bass River Recreation Area that day.  The trees at Bass had lost most of their leaves, so it was brown and gray there.  Except for the few wildflowers hanging on - like this Red Clover.

October 23rd, I had a long walk with Betsy at Pigeon Creek Park in Ottawa County.  There are many American Beech trees (and maples) here and their leaves were golden!

We also saw um, ah, well dinosaur legs?

 Mike and I made a trip to the cabin in Manistee County for our 37th wedding anniversary.
We took a ~7 mile hike on the Manistee River Trail.  Starting at Red Bridge on Coates Highway, going north to the Slagel Creek bridge and back.  It was an absolutely perfect day!

 Driving home there was much oohing and aahing from me over the beautiful trees.  It isn't easy getting a shot out the car window but this one is kind of nice. 

And probably the last outing of October, Saugatuck Dunes State Park.  A day-use park along a secluded strip of Lake Michigan shoreline, Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers 1,000 acres of land with 2.5 miles of shore line.  The park has fresh water coastal dunes that are over 200 feet tall. The park's terrain varies from steep slopes to rolling hills. The park, located in Allegan County, is relatively undeveloped.

Marie and I walked the southern part of this park, the South Trail and Livingston Trail.  The day started cool and cloudy, then changed over to blue sky and sunshine.  Here is our walk.

This walk leads you to Lake Michigan...

We walked south along the beach to the trail back up through the dune sand high above the lake.  The sun came out and the lake turned a beautiful blue.  The trees brighten with the sun.

  Then back through the woods to the car.
We walked at Macatawa Greenspace in Ottawa County this same day.  " This 122-acre park encompasses the union of the Macatawa River and the Noorderloos Creek. The restored wetland is a birders delight, home to many waterfowl including Great Blue Herons. The bridges, boardwalks and observation decks take you beside the river, offering treasured, scenic views of the natural world within the City of Holland. Enjoy a game of disc golf or explore the park via foot or bike on paved and natural surface trails. During the winter months, appreciate winter serenity in snow shoes or cross county skis."
We saw 20 different types of plants blooming today October 28, 2014!
 I hope you enjoyed the photos from these outings as much as I enjoyed being out there!   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mackinac Island in October

Mackinac Island covers 3.8 square miles in land area, it is in the U.S. state of Michigan.  It is located in Lake Huron, at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac, between the state's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

We stayed three nights at the Inn on Mackinac, a very nice Bed and Breakfast on the island.  Mackinac Island is certainly a tourist destination but things start to slow down on the island in October.  There are also numerous trails on the more remote end of the island where you can hike and not see another person.  
                                                         The Inn on Mackinac
 They don't use cars on this island, so we bring our bikes.  The first thing we do is take a ride around the perimeter of the island which is just over 8 miles.  
There are caves, and forests, and swamps on the island.  This photo above and below shows Arch Rock.
We visited some swamps along the way and found Fringed Gentian, but since it was cloudy the flower wasn't open.  Still pretty.

 This duck was sitting quietly in the calm back edge of a swamp.
The sun came out the first night we were on the island, but all four days were rainy, cloudy, or overcast.  Still we never got soaked by the rain, but later we did get soaked...
The day we left the island there was more sun but it was cooler, 
~ 55 degrees F.  We use the Starline Ferry, they provide free overnight parking. We hopped on the ferry -  it looked something like the one in the picture below.
We...or maybe it was just me that wanted to sit up on top.  Mike wasn't so sure.  And, an employee did warn us that we would get wet sitting up there...  But we were so high above the water, right?  Like I said we didn't get soaked by the rain but we did get soaked on our 20 minute ride to Mackinaw City.  Ice cold water pelleted us several times, it was windy and so cold.  Maybe that part wasn't really fun.
Back to the car to drive the 5 hours home (wet).  I was hoping the sun would stay out so I could get some nice pictures of the trees in their autumn colors.  Ten minutes later it was pouring rain.  The windows were wet, very difficult to get a good shot of trees along the way.  But the sun did pop out and I decided to just enjoy the beauty. Some of the trees just made me say, "Wow!"  The colors are so vivid.  Every fall it amazes me!
 Another fun adventure!