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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Jumping for Hiawatha - Day 375

  The Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter of the NCTA had a group hike and their annual Christmas potluck dinner today. We jumped ahead by a couple of days in the schedule in order to participate. Bill is a member of that chapter, and I've known several of those people for years. There were also some new folks. It was lots of fun, although a little tricky to connect.

The main thing I want to tell you about in the section we hiked is called Maple Hill. You can see a line of snow behind the trees. That is snow on top of a rock face.
Niagara escarpment

That picture showed the north end of a limestone cliff face that seems to mysteriously rise from the earth and remain visible for about a mile. There are some hikers in this picture for scale.
Niagare escarpment

You might ask, "Where did this come from?" It''s a visible part of the Niagara Escarpment. An escarpment is just a place where there are two sharply different elevations of rock. They can be caused by erosion or a fault line. The Niagara Escarpment is the result of uneven erosion. It runs from Watertown, NY (on the St. Lawrence River), along the southern edge of Lake Ontario, then between Lakes Ontario and Erie. You know what happens there! It's where the escarpment gets its name. Water flows over it, and we call it Niagara Falls.

Then it angles through the Georgian Peninsula, defines the east shore of Lake Huron, cuts through the Upper Peninsula (with the humble name of Maple Hill), and then forms the western edge of Lake Michigan, ending in Door County Wisconsin. Fossils can be seen in the limestone. It edges a great deal of the Great Lakes basin.

This is the only place that the North Country Trail crosses the Niagara Escarpment.
Niagara Escarpment

I didn't do a good job of taking pictures of the group. There were about 16 hikers, but I don't think we even saw all of them. We wanted to get in a full hiking day, so we started north of their hike, met up with and hiked through them, then went on several more miles before reaching our end point and going to the potluck dinner. I didn't take any good pictures there. Bummer. First the camera lens was fogged up from coming in out of the cold, and then I got visiting and eating, and I forgot. Here are a few of the hikers.

Another feature of interest is what's left of Trout Brook Pond. A few years ago the DNR decided to drain it and remove the small dam because it got very little use. All that's left is a wide place in the brook. There are several springs that keep the water level up a bit, and it looks like beavers may have an opinion on the removal of the dam. They seem to be restoring it.
Trout Brook

We also found this huge witch's broom. These are pretty common, but this one is huge and so round it was noteworthy. This is a woody plant's reaction to any number of things. Sometimes insect damage, fungus, virus, worms, etc. The growth at an apex will continue out of control and the tree/shrub will produce hundreds of shoots instead of the usual one. Really large ones like this are often used by birds and small animals as nests.
witch's broom

I have the logistics figured out for the upcoming week as a result of visiting with the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore folks, met several new interesting people, and spent some time catching up with some old friends. And hiked! A good day.

Miles today: 13.8. Total miles so far: 4292.1.

See Lake Superior Wins Every Time


Ellie said...

Wow@ Hiked nearly 14 miles, talked with other hikers, took great pictures, and still had time to get to the dinner. You continue to a roll model for us "senior hikers." I enjoyed the explanation of the geology of the Niagara Escarpment. I had no idea that it extended all the way to Door County. I hope the next several days privide good weather and more beautiful scenery for you.

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Ellie- a couple of good days coming up, then I probably have to take a couple of days off, then it's looking OK again. I see you found the Wikipedia map. It's a really good one.