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Monday, March 22, 2021

Not Seen for Five Years

  OK, it's only four and a half, technically, but it was 2016 the last time I walked these miles of the North Country Trail. It was October on that little backpacking excursion. Things look much different in March! I really wanted to see some piece of trail that I haven't visited so recently. This filled the requirement.

The theme of the hike was water features.

I took this hike yesterday afternnon, but am sharing it today because I wanted to post about bell choir yesterday. I suspect this beautiful wetland is barely wet in the fall. The reddish shrubs are leatherleaf, which will tolerate standing water but not all year round. This is right on the line between Lake and Newaygo Counties. (The road is not exactly on the county line, so there is a tiny bit of trail at the north end of this hike that is actually Lake County.) wetland

A little farther south, we have a freshwater marsh with a different color palette. This one probably has open water all year. The reeds and hummocky grasses suggest that. wetland

The trail actually snakes through a very large area of wetlands. I'm sure this one has open water year round. Two reasons- the standing dead trees... wetland

and evidence that it gets continual help in maintaining the water level from the beavers. Gotta say, though, that when the beavers do fell this tree, I doubt they are going to be able to move it very far unless the water gets a lot higher! tree chewed by beaver

The banks of Cedar Creek are still all brown, except for a slight flush of red on the red-osier dogwood. On the hike linked below, I stopped here to filter water. Cedar Creek

Next up in the gallery of wetlands is a bottomland hardwood swamp, much maligned in literature as spooky places. I just think they are beautiful. wetland

And my destination: Highbank Lake. There is a campground about a half mile off trail, but I did not go there. I ate a snack and turned around. Highbank Lake

This made my total hike 10 miles, which was plenty for not getting started hiking until after 1 pm. No problem with time, though. I made it back to the car before 5. The temperature hovered above 60- I hiked in shirtsleeves. Obviously the sun and sky were delivering blue water. It was quite awesome. Living the dream!

North Coutry Trail miles for 2021 is at 127.

North Country Trail, Newaygo County, MI, 96th St to Highbank Lake and back. 10 miles total

In other news: It's all other news today, since this was yesterday! I painted for 4.5 hours, did a 4-mile road walk with Cathy, and now I'm doing editing. Oh, also took books to the PO to mail.

See 2016 Short Backpacking Trip


Ann said...

Love that first picture and the view in that last one is amazing. I'm fascinated by the tree the beaver is working on.

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- those beavers just don't know when they should quit!

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "Jeepers! I didn't know beavers came armed with axes!"
Chaplin: "Well according to Dennis, the ones he tangled with that one time were armed with quarterstaffs ..."

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