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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Heritage Nature Trail - Cadillac

 After the vendor event today, I took a short hike on the Heritage Nature Trail at Mitchell State Park in Cadillac. I had been there once before in 2015 (link below).

This is a large man-made wetland area between Lakes Mitchell and Cadillac. Black Creek, seen here, used to be used to float logs between the two lakes, but it was too shallow, and a canal was eventually dug. This changed the hydrology of the area enough that this became about 70 acres of wetland.
black creek cadillac

Since it's now preserved as a nature study area, that is a good thing. Most of the trail is in the form of a raised berm that goes in a rectangle around the area. At least it's dirt. But despite being close to two busy highways, it's known for great wildlife viewing. There is a spur into the middle of the marsh with an observation platform. I went out there, but it's pretty early to see much. There were a couple of slow peepers.

I really liked this collection of hummocks along the diverted section of Black Creek that surrounds the wetland.

Saw my first turtles of the year! Just painted turtles, but that's OK. I like to play the game of "which will be first?" Some years it's been a Blandings.
painted turtles

I wanted to take the outer loop, and I did. But the cut-across loop was so attractive, I had to walk it too (both directions, eh?). It goes over what they call "hemlock island." Since nobody was keeping any kind of records when this land was all changed, they don't really know why it's higher, or why (uncharacteristically) hemlocks are growing that near a wetland. But it was a beautiful section of trail. Two humps with hemlocks, and one lower section with a boardwalk through the marsh.
trail in hemlocks

On the walk back, I cut over to Lake Cadillac.
lake cadillace

The willow trees are getting all sexy. This is goat willow, Salix caprea, alien. But the male catkins sure are fancy.
goat willow catkins

With the extra bits of trail I did and the out and back pieces, I managed to turn it into a four mile walk. There is lots of interpretation, and would be a nice walk with kids. Probably you'd see a lot of wildlife activity on a summer evening.

The vendor event went OK. They didn't manage to pull in a very good crowd. I sold a few books and talked with a lot of people. But a few of my friends came. Sorry, no picture of Miki, but I finally got a pretty good one of Eamon!

Total miles hiked in 2024: 193.6 of which 69.6 is North Country Trail.

Mitchell State Park, Cadillac, MI, Heritage Nature Study Trail. with spurs. 4.0 miles

See Sunday Hikes


The Furry Gnome said...

I like the turtles!

Sharkbytes said...

Stew- they always make me smile