Twelve of us hiked today. We did 9.5 miles on the section that was, for a long time, mine to maintain. It was fun to see it again.
The section begins with a stroll down an old rail bed that goes through a bottomland hardwood swamp. It's a beautiful place, often terrible with mosquitoes, but the water was pretty much gone today, and no bugs.
The first hints of fall are showing up.
We stopped to take a break at the deck on the end of the boardwalk. This was one of the first projects our chapter did.
While we all sat there we were semi-aggressively charged by this insect- over an inch long. We were all a bit wary. It kept facing off with us and would then just hover in place or sort of dance around. This brought on a round of bee sting stories.
Imagine my surprise when bugguide.net identified this as a hover fly. Looks and acts aggressive, but totally harmless. Called the Yellowjacket Hover Fly, Milesia virginiensis. In fact, it's sometimes called the Good News Bee because of how it approaches and faces off... supposedly bringing good news. In folk lore it will bring good luck if you can get it to perch on a finger.
This is an area that had a terrible blowdown about 10 years ago. It's grown up so much that it no longer looks open. Amazing how the forest can recover. Those are almost all oaks that have resprouted from the old stumps.
The hike ended just north of the Little Manistee River.
Nice weather and a great all-round day.
North Country Trail, Lake, Mason and Manistee Counties, Michigan, Freesoil TH north to Skocelas Road. 9.5 miles
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