So, today was the actual day of the group hike. Even though I did all the same pieces of trails as last week, there is always something new to see, and the light was different today- overcast. That meant no blue water, but it was also cooler. I'll take that.
We went to the top of the lake overlook at Lake Michigan Recreation Area.
Here's the group we ended up with, six people (I'm not in the picture) and Sadie the dog.
This little cutie checked us out, but decided not to hike with us.
Three hikers bailed after 3 miles for various reasons, 3 of us went on for another mile, and then 1 more left. One of the guys and I did one more loop, down into Nordhouse to the lake and then back to our cars.
There were swimmers in Nordhouse Lake.
The Lake Michigan Trail is perched at the edge of the dune, and lends itself to interesting pictures.
I noticed that an awful lot of the Witch Hazel trees had rolled leaves. You can see the strands of "silk" the caterpillars spin to hold the rolls tight.
I unrolled several, but the caterpillars are gone. All that was left was frass (caterpillar poop).
I wondered if there was one particular insect that does this with Witch Hazel, and there is. It's called the Witch Hazel Leaf Roller (duh), or palmerworm. This is the larvae of Dichomeris ligulella, a small brown moth with narrow wings. I probably could have found some if I'd known what to look for in the surrounding area. You can see them on Bugguide.net.
There was some light rain when we were almost done. It felt good- not enough to really get us wet.
Lake Michigan Recreation Area trails, about 4 miles, Nordhouse Dunes trails, Nippising, Nordhouse Lake, Algoma Ridge, Lake Michigan loop, another 4 miles
The whole day reminded me of a Girl Scout song, "God has created a new day, silver and green and gold, live that the sunset may find us, worthy His gifts to hold." Perfect.
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