Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Three Counties - Three Parks! Ensley Nature Preserve and more...

September 1, 2017
Marie did her homework for this trip and found a very nice preserve.  Ensley Nature Preserve is in the southeast corner of Newaygo County, Michigan. It felt like a very friendly park, nice signs, and a good map.
This is one of the signs along fox trail, notice the fox, and the sign posts were color coded.
 Ensley Nature Preserve is mostly woods, with many plants.  One type of plant we found was Indian Cucumber-Root (Medeola virginiasa) Lily Family, they were everywhere.  These plants have already bloomed but they are very colorful in the fall.

 We also found an orchid, Autumn Coralroot (Corallorhiza odontorhiza) Orchid family.  This one wasn't blooming. I know it doesn't look like much but I still get excited to find it.

There is a wet area to the north of the preserve, from an overlook we could see the white puffs of cottongrass growing here.  But this is private property so we couldn't explore this bog.

Next we traveled just a few miles to Fisk Knob in Kent County. "Fisk Knob is a small park in northeast Kent County that contains the highest point of elevation in the entire county, at 1,072 feet above sea level. Visitors can use the small parking area just off Algoma Rd then hike up the short gated drive to the peak." 

 These birds were fun to watch, they would fly off in a huge group then come back to settle on this tower.  They seemed so organized, each one knew where to perch.



The next park we visited was Moore County Park on Half Moon Lake in Muskegon County.  Bottle Gentian grow here, and we found a few plants blooming
  Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) Gentian family. 

Half Moon Lake at Moore County Park

Another fun adventure with my sister, Marie.  This was just one day, I have many more days with beautiful plants, and fun places to share. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Happy Boots and Purple Fringed Orchids in Allegan County!

On Monday July 17 2017, Marie and I took a trip to one of our favorite sites, Happy Boots!  A wet, muddy, jungle of a forest in the Allegan State Game Area.  It never disappoints! 
We saw 12 Purple Fringed Orchids blooming, I'm sure there were more than 12 but they are not always easy to find in this green tangle of a maze.  But they are so fun to find.
First here is a look at the place.
 Happy Boots
The plants you see here are Lizard's Tail (Saururus cernuus).  The Purple Fringed Orchid enjoys hiding among these Lizard tails.
And below are the Purple Fringed Orchids.

 Here are some other things I found interesting on this trip.
 Moth - Haploa clymene
 Wild Leek blooming, the leaves of this plant come up very early in spring but the leaves die away and now it blooms!  Just a stem coming right out of the dirt with the flower.
 Here at Sand Creek, there was a small bridge but it was replaced recently with this culvert. 
 Helleborine Orchid (Epipactis helleborine) a non-native but still quite pretty.
 There were many of these guys flying around.  Very friendly.
 This is one of Marie's and my favorite wildflowers, Heal All (Prunella vulgaris).  From above the plant, then straight on.  I think the flowers look like tiny orchids.
 And then we found Monkeyflower (Mimulus ringens)  Figwort family,  blooming.  It use to bloom near the bridge but that area was destroyed when the culvert was put in, luckily the plant found a new home.
 Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)  This is a wildflower, not a mushroom or fungus.

 Spotted Touch-Me-Not, also called Jewelweed, (Impatiens capensis)


Another Purple Fringed Orchid, just hanging out in the woods.

 I spotted these little fungus on this tree, taking a closer look they are tiny mushrooms of some sort.
We saw a few butterflies, moths, and dragonflies - this one below just stopped fluttering for a second on this leaf.
 This was just another of our fun outings in the woods.  I have so many more great trips to tell you about, soon I hope.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Big Bend National Park - April 2017

Our 2017 trip to Big Bend National Park happened in early April this year. 

One of our hikes was the Lost Mine Trail, just under 5 miles to hike with an elevation gain of 1300 feet. We hiked this trail 2 years ago, when our granddaughter Finley was 12 weeks old.  This time our newest grandchild, Harrison (8 weeks old) was the youngest "hiker" of the group. 

 Granddaughters - Mary and Finley
 We were in the clouds for a bit at first.  Then it cleared up and we had blue sky.

Hikers, Andrew with Finley, Debi with Harrison, and Mike.

We went to see red rocks, along the Blue Creek Trail.

Finley Rose admiring the red rocks. 
Hiker Harrison with his dad.  Our son with his son.

We went to visit the Hot Springs, along the Rio Grande River.
Across this river is Mexico.

 Yes, that is Andrew and Finley in the raging river!
The Hot Springs.

We hung out at Andrew's property near Terlingua Texas.  It is so fun to explore there, and discover cool rocks!  We usually have several pounds of rocks in our suitcase on the way home.
Here are the views from the high point of the property.
 This chair is the only accommodation on the property.


Here are a few of our finds, the first is a spider that was under a rock I picked up... Notice its big body, I haven't identified it yet.
We went on several other hikes.  It was a fun visit, and the weather was good too.  But the best part is seeing the grandkids!