Lots of pictures again, but I can't help it! Today was about as perfect as you can get. First, I finished the blazing on the main portion of my trail. That was the easy railbed through the swamp portion. So after that I took a longer hike. This section is one I don't seem to hike very often, so it was almost like seeing a new piece of trail since I didn't remember every turn by heart.
Reflection of trees in the slightly flooded Muckwa Creek. Everything is wonderful in the sunshine!
Common running clubmoss. Lycopodium clavatum.
Artist's Conch fungus, Ganoderma applamatum. I used to love carving pictures into the undersides of these. Now, I'm happy with taking their snapshots.
This is maybe the best find of the day. I was aided in the identification by that wad of coarse black fur beside the skull parts. I did not arrange those jaws; that's exactly how they were lying. I did bring one home, and thanks to my great "Key to Mammal Skulls and Lower Jaws" was able to verify that it's a striped skunk. Live mammals I saw include a chipmunk, red squirrel, and two black gray squirrels.
This is a weird burl. Not all bumpy like most.
I saw at least three different kinds of butterflies. Several were the Mourning Cloaks- an early hatcher, one small blue one- way too fast to identify, and two of these which I am pretty sure are Eastern Commas even though I can't see the wings really well, Polygonia comma. I wish I could have gotten a picture with the wings all the way open, but this was the best I could do.
It was a wonderful day for patterns and reflections. This is just some submerged grass in an unnamed creek flowing with the current.
Back to Muckwa Creek and last year's fallen leaves on the creek bed, with one floating on the surface, and the reflections of trees.
This final picture is back up in the bottomland hardwood swamp on my section of trail. It doesn't look spooky and gloomy at all in the sunshine!
The Spring Peepers and Chorus Flogs were all warmed up and singing at full force in every little ephemeral wetland. The ticks and mosquitoes aren't awake yet. Cool air and warm sun- my favorite. Days don't get much better than this one.
I hiked a total of 10 miles today. NCT Hike 100 Challenge 2020 is at 81 miles.
North Country Trail, Lake County, MI, 5 Mile Road past Freesoil Trailhead and back.
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