Saturday, October 15, 2016

Wilderness State Park, Ocqueoc Falls, Seagull Point Park, Mackinac Island

We took a four day trip to the northern part of Michigan's  lower peninsula.  We made Mackinaw City our base for the weekend, staying at the American Boutique Inn.


We hiked at Wilderness State Park, a place we haven't been to before.  We drove west to Waugoshance Point and hiked west for ~3/4 of a mile. It was an open area and very wet.  There were so many shallow ponds we had to turn back to the car.  We then headed south, towards Goose Bay.  We made it about a half mile and turned around because it was wet and we didn't have boots. 
We saw blooming...many Fringed Gentian, some Indian Paintbrush, several Houghton Goldenrod. We saw two research people marking the Houghton Goldenrod. We also saw basal leaves of Butterwort, and Pitcher Plant.

Wilderness State Park is a 10,512 acre Michigan state park.   It is located in Emmet County. 
We hiked through the woods too, going around Goose Pond and up Mt. Nebo.  Very nice walk. Well marked trails, perfect weather. 

We drove around to the southwest corner of the park near Sturgeon Bay.  There is another trailhead located here and quick access to Lake Michigan.

The next day we drove south on M 23 along Lake Huron, through Cheboygan to Roger City and found Seagull Point Park.  This was a very beautiful place.
" The City’s largest park, Seagull Point consists of 43 acres and a mile of Lake Huron shoreline. A perfect place to view a sunset, the park features a 1.5-mile bark-surface trail system allowing nature enthusiasts the perfect means to view the unique dune formations, vegetation, and wildlife. Picnic tables, grills, a fire pit, and portable toilet facilities are available in the summer, and an access ramp makes the beach area accessible to most users."

We also stopped at the Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway.  We viewed the falls then took a hike on the pathway.  "The highlight of this location is Ocqueoc Falls, which is the largest waterfall in the Lower Peninsula. In addition, there is access to the Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway, which includes loop lengths from six miles to three miles; the trail is suitable for hiking, cross country skiing, and mountain biking."

On the way back to Mackinaw City we stopped in Cheboygan for dinner at the Great Lakes Grill.  I would definitely suggest eating here if you're near Cheboygan.

Our last day was spent on Mackinac Island.  Our ferry ride to the island took us under the Mackinac Bridge! 

Then on to Mackinac Island with our bikes.  We started with a ride around the perimeter of the island, a little more than 7 miles.  We saw Arch Rock from below...
And from above...

We did some hiking on the island, walking the Tranquil Bluff Trail, to Eagle Point Cave, then back on the Swamp Trail to Porter Hank's Trail.  We watched a Pileated Woodpecker for awhile along one of the more remote trails.

That night there were fireworks in Mackinaw City.  The Bridge was lit up and the clouds came in.

On the way home to Grand Haven we saw more color in the leaves and a nice sunset.

This trip was October 6th through the 9th, last weekend.  I would guess the fall colors are even better this week.  I hope you can get out to enjoy them..

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A peek at a few places - Ottawa County and Muskegon County

Muskegon State Park is where we found Cross-Leaved Milkwort in 2010 so we thought we might find this plant blooming again.  And we did.  It is a very small plant, as you can see compared to the cranberry in the background.

Cross-Leaved Milkwort (Polygala cruciata aquilonia) Milkwort family

Lost Lake at Muskegon State Park - September 27, 2016

  We hiked through the dunes near Lake Michigan, it was windy, cloudy, and sunny.

Lake Michigan

We have been to Bass Recreation Area in Ottawa County to check on the Bottle Gentian and Nodding Ladies' Tresses.

 This is the white variety of Bottle Gentian we find at Bass, the photo above was taken on August 23, 2016. 
And the photo below was taken on September 13, 2016.

The more common color of the Bottle Gentian is a beautiful purplish blue like in the photos below.  These plants were also found at Bass, only in a different area.

Can you see all of the Bottled Gentian blooming in the photo?  We find this cluster of Bottled Gentian near a place at Bass that we call Cardinal Flower lane. 
Below is Cardinal Flower Lane in bloom August 23, 2016.
At Bass we also find many Nodding Ladies' Tresses which are in the orchid family.

The orchid book is 8 inches tall, so this plant was about a foot tall.

One of the many ponds to explore at Bass Recreation Area in Ottawa County, Michigan.