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Thursday, June 3, 2021

It Doesn't Get Much Better

  It doesn't get much better than today, folks! I hiked 14 miles and finished collecting data for Newaygo County on the North Country Trail. The weather was beautiful. It was sunny and the high was 83, but there was a slight breeze that kept it from feeling too hot. And the humidity was low.

There are too many pictures in this post, but what should I leave out?

First of all, lets talk about a little geology. Most of the hills in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan are remnants of a huge glacial moraine that has eroded away in interesting patterns. There is a surviving ridge that runs somewhat N-S throughout Newaygo County. Just east of this ridge, and sometimes cutting through it are holes and channels that have become a series of lakes and wetlands. The NCT threads it's way along that ridge. Today, the southernmost lake in the series that I passed was Nichols Lake. It's also one of the largest. Nichols Lake

Next one north that you can see from the trail is Leaf Lake. I think it gets its name from the odd shape. Leaf Lake

That lake transitions into a long, long strip of wetlands that follow one of the eroded valleys. If this was Ohio or Pennsylvania, I'd suspect they were old mining pits. But I think these are just natural. wetland

Condon Lake is a long, thin teardrop. You climb a hump in the ridge after a mile-long strip of wetlands, and it suddenly appears. Condon Lake

My hike today only took me a little north from here. But Highbank Lake, that you've seen a few other times, is in this same line. Then the trail veers west and leaves this geologic feature.

One very cool thing I found is one of the very few remaining Manistee Trail markers. That trail pre-dated the North Country Trail. And it looks like the porcupines don't care anything about history. Manistee Trail marker

Best flower finds of the day are Frostweed, Helianthemum canadense,

And a Maple-leaf Viburmun, now with the flower fully open. But this picture wins because the sun helped make it a little artsy. I love the shadow on the leaf. maple leaf viburnum

It was a great dragonfly day, especially along Nichols Lake, where I was "wading" through hundreds of zooming and flitting dragonflies. Getting any pictures at all was really hard. But I think most of them were Chalk-fronted Corporels. You can't see the distinguishing marks in this picture, but I did see a lot of them from better angles. I just couldn't get any pictures. There were other kinds as well. Notably some small blue ones, but no certain ID on those. chalk fronted corporal dragonfly

I just was trying to get lucky with a picture of this one perched on the grass. Couldn't tell what it was at all until I got home. I'm pretty sure it's the Calico Pennant, which I learned a couple of years ago. calico pennant dragonfly

And finally, I just like this picture. This was the edge of a wetland that wasn't terribly attractive, but the twisted shrubs and the lighting transformed it into something mysterious. wetland

I met another long-distance hiker on the trail! Liz Jones is hiking from Croton Dam to Munising. Good luck, Liz! It's amazing that I actually encounter hikers multiple times a year, now. This is a relatively new phenomenon for the NCT! hiker

It was also a good day for bullfrogs and mosquitoes and gypsy moths. The only negative for the whole day is that the gypsy caterpillars are hanging on their threads everywhere. I had "silk" threads touching my face all day long. I really could have done without that. But I prefer to emphasize how perfect the day was!

The only other news is that there was a Reading Regatta Zoom event in the evening.

North Country Trail miles for 2021 is at 335.

North Country Trail, Newaygo County, Michigan, FR 5633 almost to Tank Creek and back for a total of 14 miles

See MNF Challenge Hike #5


Ann said...

That was a full day for sure. I enjoyed seeing all the photos.

Liz Jones said...

Hi Joan!! It was so wonderful to meet you on the trail! 💗💗 Liz

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- you are so faithful! Thank you.

Liz- hope our paths cross again!

The Oceanside Animals said...

Charlee: "Ooh, you sure saw a lot of bugs on your walk!"
Chaplin: "We love to watch bugs! We could do it all day!"
Lulu: "You DO do it all day."

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