Entries to Win Afghan

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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Calhoun County Trailway

 I left Marianne's this morning. Always so much fun there. She thinks we hadn't done a picture of me with the NCT snowman, so we had to...

Of course, I wanted to stop and hike some NCT miles to break up the drive home. I forgot that this particular section is a wide dirt trail, the Calhoun County Trailway, but that's OK. And it's lined with junk vegetation, alien Tatarian Honeysuckle and Garlic Mustard. But I almost didn't care because things were starting to green up! Saw a big blue dragonfly, and another smaller one. I hiked in shorts and a t-shirt!
wide dirt trail

This is roughly parallel to the Kalamazoo River.
Kalamazoo River

I went as far as this big bridge. Of course the trail goes into the woods just past here, but I needed to turn around.
large trail bridge

And what is this bridge for, you ask? It carries the trail across a large, unnamed wetland (freshwater marsh) that drains into the river.

It's a premier day, because I identified a new-to-me plant. This little thing has been bugging me for a couple of years. It's alien, of course, but it's a cress. Hoary Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta to be exact. It is edible as a salad green, so I'll have to watch for it around here. It's working its way north, and has supposedly been found in Mason County.

It has a dainty basal rosette.
hoary bittercress

The four petals convinced me it was a cress (member of the Brassicaceae- cabbage, mustard- family). But I needed a good picture of the rosette and the stem leaves to get the actual ID.
hoary bittercress

I'm saving half of this hike to share tomorrow. The road was closed to get to where I wanted to start, so I parked beside the road, walked one direction, came back and beyond, did the part I wanted to do, and came back to the car. The second piece is what I want to show you, but I have to do some research, so I'll save it.

I got off even the state highways as early as I could, to still make it home in time for bell practice. The trucks were just annoying me. Greening fields, farms, and small towns brought me joy. I did a modified version of one of my favorite activities. I didn't have time to not use a map and just drift north and west on any old road, so I used the atlas to stay on paved roads and not get "caught" on the wrong side of a lake or accidentally go through a large town.

Found myself crossing Hardy Dam. The water was blue, so I had to try for a "drive-by-shooting" picture.
hARdy Dam pond

I timed it perfectly. Got home just in time for bell choir practice.

Total miles hiked in 2024: 189.6 of which 69.6 is North Country Trail.

North Country Trail, railroad culvert bridge at Historic Bridge Park to wetland bridge in Calhoun County, MI and back. 3 miles

See Historic Bridge Park to Ott
See A Visit to Hardy Dam


Ann said...

Looks beautiful out there.

Sharkbytes said...

It was a great day!