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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Back to Crystal Valley

 I went back out to Crystal Valley today, but still didn't hike every piece of every loop. I did walk 8.3 miles though.

It's still not really spring in the woods. Found more hilly trails. This is a really good area to get a workout around here. From the parking lot to the high point is about 300 feet difference, but the trails go up and down a lot. I definitely climbed and descended more than 300 feet. My tracker said my net elevation gain was 2.67 feet. Right. All that means is that I went in a loop which is good. Returning to the car is good.
wooded hill in early spring

I took several pictures that didn't come out at all. I took a picture of Sweetfern in bloom. Not in focus. It smells even more spicy than the leaves.

There was sun, so I was able to get a nice shadow of some emerging leaves on a rock.
shadow on a rock

The Shadbush is trying to show off. That's one of the very earliest blooms in the woods.

I was hoping for some wildflowers, but it's a very dry woods, so I didn't have big expectations. All I found was one small clump of common violets at the edge of a clearing.

A tattered Red Admiral butterfly was hanging around while I ate my lunch. I did also see a dragonfly.
red admiral butterfly

It's really interesting that where the trees are getting sunlight they are starting to pop! This was a fencerow on the way home. I love this time of year.
colors of spring trees

Since I had to repeat some sections of some loops to get to "new" trail, I did stop at the chestnut balls and look around more carefully for the tree. Hmmm. I did not find anything that has the right bark. That said, I think chestnut bark can be rather variable, but I'm still mystified. I found more of the balls uphill in the woods, so I think my idea that they rolled downhill into the trail is true. And I found one ball that was broken open about a quarter mile from the others. I suspect a squirrel.

I've been trying to meet my 100 miles of campsites quota since I got home. I'm about at 40 miles. Will I make it before I give up for the day?

Total miles hiked in 2024: 208.9 of which 70.6 is North Country Trail.

Crystal Valley Ski loops, Oceana County, MI. Various loops, 8.3 miles

See Crystal Valley Outer Loop


The Oceanside Animals said...

Oona: "You saw a butterfly AND a dragonfly?! So lucky! Oona approves!"

Sharkbytes said...

Oona- You would never have caught the dragonfly, but the butterfly was definitely slow enough for you. I think it was aged.