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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Croton to Coolbough and a Squirt

  I totally played hookey today. I wasn't letting the fantastic weather go to waste. You may recall that I'm working on a data book project for the North Country Trail in the Lower Peninsula. Today, I started Newaygo County. The southernmot part is still on roads. So all I had to do for those is drive them and make notes of any particular features (like check creeks for water access), convenience stores, etc.

There was one tiny piece about a quarter mile long that eliminates a half mile of road, so I walked that. Nice hardwood forest over a little ridge. Very pretty. trail in hardwood forest

Then I continued driving the roads to Croton Dam. I've featured it before, and will show you some more later this week. Today, I only stopped to take some pictures and eat my lunch. Then I drove to the next road crossing because I had already made notes on the first three miles of trail (south end of the Manistee National Forest, from the Dam to Croton Rd). So, I entered the woods at the Croton Road/Pear Rd corner. trail through white pines The section I hiked today alternated between mixed forest and open areas like this one. Although the forecast said it was going to be cloudy, you can see that was not true part of the day. 70+ degrees! trail through open area with blue sky

The young white pine are, of course, lovely, but there were some venerable grandfather pines along the way. The trail goes along this row of them.
old white pines

I think this one is the size winner for today!
old white pine

I loved the colors of moss and lichen and bark at the base of it. white pine bark with moss and lichens

This is a group of red pines still standing at the edge of an area that had previously been clearcut. They are vulnerable to winds, but haven't toppled yet. Somehow, I found this arrangement appealing. tall red pines

I walked 5.3 miles to a trail junction in the Coolbough Natural Area, had a snack and returned. With the other little piece, that's a total of 11.1 miles.

Both Sunday and today I saw mourning cloak butterflies, and some smaller orange one today too. Spring is coming!

North Country Trail miles for 2021 is at 138.

North Country Trail, Newaygo County, Pear Rd to Locust and back, 0.5 miles. Croton Road to Coolbough Natural Area Prairie Trail and back, 10.6 miles

In other news: There is no other news. I'm beat, but it was a great day!

See A Little Hike, a Little History


Ann said...

Looks like a beautiful day. Those pine trees in the last shot looks like it wouldn't take much to blow them over.

Lin said...

WOW! What a lovely area. I like the pines. 11 miles is GREAT!

The Furry Gnome said...

Love that detailed picture of the pine bark.

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- Even better than I expected since the sky turned blue

Lin- 120 or so miles like this in the Manistee NF alone.

Stew- The colors are not quite true in the picture. In real life it was so beautiful I wanted to decorate a house in those colors!

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