We began at 6 Mile Rd (in Newaygo County), and walked north. Almost immeiately we found leaves of Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens). This is a fairly common, but attractive wild orchid. It will bloom in July.
We passed beside some small wetlands. These were shallow and quite scummy, but I managed to find some attractive aspen trees with white bark across the water.
This wetland wasn't a place you'd even want to filter water, but there were some nice colors. I'm sure last spring's very high water levels are responsible for the dying trees at the edges. However, the yellowed and brown pine needles lend some color for a picture. Just a small band of remaining ice on the far bank.
I thought this hike was going to take us through a rather unique place, but I wasn't positive of exactly where it was. However, I was correct. There is an area here, with about a mile of trail, where the Forest Service has partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Michigan DNR to restore an area of Oak Savanna. It's an oddly open and rolling area of grasses within the forest.
Interestingly, the scrub oaks have sprouted from old stumps a lot since the last time I was here. You can see some pictures of it in 2016 at the second link below. I'm not sure if they will do a controlled burn to make sure it remains open, or perhaps something else.
There are several old kettle holes in this section that no longer hold enough water to be lakes, but they are still just wet enough to grow leatherleaf. That's the reddish shrub down in the low area.
I loved the bands of color, texture, and vegetation at the edge.
We took a break for our snack, walked to the four-mile point and turned around. Total walked: 8 miles.
North Country Trail miles for 2021 is at 146.
North Country Trail, Newaygo County, MI. 6 Mile Rd north for 4 miles and back
In other news: The 8 miles felt fine! Not sore or stiff at all. When I got home I spent the rest of the day working on the data book for this county.
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See Backpacking Day 2