Today, Maggie and I made time for a little adventure. I had one work assignment near this place, and I'd been wanting to explore it for a long time. Since I only had one job, I took a chance and took the dog. It was perfect. No one was home, so I got my pictures, and then we went to the Walkinshaw Wetland.
As you can see, it's a part of the Manistee National Forest. That said, the Forest is not all contiguous, and I had no idea of the boundaries of this piece. I should have studied it beforehand, but thought there might be signs. I had no idea if there would be some trails, or what to expect. I'd only driven by it before, and saw a dirt road heading into the area.
It turned out that the road was very short and this was the view east from the parking area.
If you look toward the back of the picture you'll see some trees on the right and some greening bushes a bit farther left. That's the line of Beaver Creek, although it was long ago channelized, so there's nothing natural about it. It flows northeast, eventually into the South Branch of the Pere Marquette River. If you've been around this blog very long, that should be a familiar name.
Here's the view to the north.
There is a pond just barely visible. I wasn't sure if it was part of the public land or not. I thought I heard a sandhill crane when I first pulled in, just one. Never saw it. I did hear a lot of geese. I thought I'd visit the pond. More on that later.
First we walked east to the creek. Mostly, it was blocked by a fence, but I did find one place to reach it.
It's surprisingly pretty even though channelized. I think it must have been done long ago and has had time to redevelop a few bends. The big bend to the right that shows is just that. The channel does a 45-degree turn and heads directly east. Sorry to kill the "romance."
Anyway, we next headed across the field toward the pond. Of course, all that open area is really a wetland. Actually, a lot of it was just difficult walking but dry enough at the moment. At least for a while. Then it got more like this.
The clumps of grass are called hummocks. The rest is called water. We managed to make it over to the fence that separated us from the pond. I even found an opening in the fence. However, if you look back at the pond picture, you can tell there is grayish-brown vegetation all around it. Those are cattails. Cattails grow in... water. No chance at all of getting close to that pond.
So we went back to the car. Did we have fun? Sure. Did we have dry feet? No way.
I've now looked up the boundaries, and I could have walked much farther without trespassing anywhere. Maybe another time, on a day when the water is warmer!
Hey! Did you notice that my counter passed a quarter of a million today? WooHoo!
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