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Monday, March 23, 2020

Bowman Semi-Primitive Area - Glacial Goodies

Today I hiked about 8 miles through one of my favorite local places, the Bowman Semi-Primitive Area. It's within the Manistee National Forest, and includes 3 miles of the North Country Trail. Because it's so special, it's protected from motorized use. You can not even drive to the lake, which keeps it pretty nice.

I did a loop of the NCT and then the Bowman Trails. This is Bowman Lake. It's gorgeous in any season. It's a glacial kettle hole lake- formed when a block of ice calved off the retreating glacier. It has no inlet or outlet, but has remained a lake because it is spring fed.

Bowman Lake

There are several other kettle holes in the area, but they are dry most of the year. The second largest one did have some frozen standing water today. Notice the dark brown vegetation in the bottom. That is leatherleaf- a wetland shrub which indicates that it's wet close to the surface year round.

kettle hole

One of the things I love about this area is that it has just enough topography to be really interesting. It's full of glacial kames. These are little pointy hills deposited by water dripping out the bottom of the glacier. Just like letting wet sand run out of your hand to make a little pointed pile, but on a much larger scale.


It's hard to tell this shot is looking downhill when the previous one was looking up to a hilltop, but the trail here wanders beside and over these rolling humps.

North Country Trail

You might think there would be a lot of glacially deposited rocks, called erratics. There are some, but most aren't very big. This is about the biggest I've seen there.

glacially deposited rock

Here is the other type of geologic feature. This is a bowl-shaped depression, rounded rather than V-shaped as the kettles are. No leatherleaf growing in the bottom. That indicates that it's probably a blow-out, a place where wind picked up the loose sand and just sculpted a bowl.

Bowman Lake blow out

One thing I thought was really interesting because I hadn't noticed it before. With no leaves, you can see for a long way through the trees. That blue ridge in the far distance is the ridge beyond the floodplain of the Pere Marquette River, on the other side.

Pere Marquette River ridge

And a few pretties- some kind of polypore fungus. I liked the yellow and creamy bands.

yellow fungus

It finally got a degree over 40! The sun showed up at the end of the day. Always welcome.

blue sky

And a lovely reflection at the edge of Bowman Lake.


Hike 100 Challenge for 2020 is at 53 miles.

In other news: I wrote a news article in the morning and did laundry.

56th St to 40th St on the North Country Trail, Lake County, MI, and then return via the Bowman Lake Trail, Leatherleaf Loop and Bowman ski trail. Total about 8 miles total

See A Day on the Trail with Annie


Ann said...

What an interesting area

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you for the vocabulary lesson
Amazing places on your hike and I had no idea there were specific names e.g. kettle hole. Thanks. Janet Glaser