Heading North

I have come to Michigan for several reasons. To regain a bit of my youth – I lived in Three Rivers through High School and went to College in Kalamazoo. To experience the joy of the woods. To see something new.

My first destination was Huron National Forest. I love the National Forests because they are such a mixture of woods and small towns. And there are many little areas designated to scenic views and/or education.

One I found is the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary. It has a guided trail with many stops that describe the vegetation. You get a self-guided tour map at the head of the trail.

 

There is also a cultural trail that lets you wander through a homestead from the early 1900’s. The buildings are gone except for a few foundations. It was inhabited by a famer whose daughter fell in love with and married an artist, Albert Schmidt, in Europe. The wedding caused the family to miss their voyage back home – on the Titanic! – and the father was so grateful that he built a studio on his property for his son-on-law.

I’m at Brower Park Campground on the Muskegon River. It smells so good! There are pine trees all around my campsite. Some birch and oak, too. I do love a good forest.

Growing up in Michigan meant that if you didn’t live on a lake or river, you knew someone who did. Swimming was second nature to us. And fishing. ( I was not fond of fishing, but you just don’t broadcast that sentiment.) The wildlife is abundant. I saw these one morning.

I am camping here for a couple of days and then I’ll head further north. Maybe hit the dunes one afternoon.

Earth Day and Raptors

Earth Day was cold and rainy. So I mostly stayed in the car watching movies. I did journey out a little in the evening when the sun finally decided to come out. Walked another trail. This was an interpretive trail on land management and how the DNR has maintained a refuge for the wildlife in this area.

Sunday I got up early and went down to the lake for a meditative hour.

At noon there was a program at the Nature Center on raptors – birds of prey. Dana, the ranger who did the lecture, was excellent. She really knows her birds. She brought out the Red Tailed Hawk you see at the top of this post. And then a little screech owl.

All the birds they keep at the center have been injured and cannot survive in the wild. Patoka Lake is a habitat for birds and the Nature Center is a great educational resource.

All in all, my time at Patoka Lake was wonderful. I will come here again

Heading South

On my way to Hoosier National Forest, I stopped for lunch at a nature preserve. McVey Memorial Forest. It’s a 249 acre forest out in the middle of farm fields. This land was deeded to the DNR by Edna McVey in her will. She loved the woods and wanted others to enjoy it.


Several trails wind through the forest, there’s a small pond, and it’s a wildlife sanctuary maintained by the Red Tail Nature Conservancy. Further in the forest is a small cemetery that is all that is left from a community called Stubenville.

  
You can find it on Highway 1 just north of Farmland, IN.