The 716-acre W. K. Kellogg Experimental Forest, managed by Michigan State University, lies between Augusta and Richland, MI. There are several trails in the Forest, including the North County National Scenic Trail. We did hike on a short section of that particular trail last Friday,
but our goal was the entire 2.5 Lemmien Loop I’m familiar with nearly every step of the loop, knowing the ups and downs, the twists and turns, the connecting trails, how far from the pine “nursery” to the lean-to or sugar maples. But as we hadn’t hiked it in two or three years, we chose it for our Friday hike.
I tried my hand at black and white photos. Did I catch some essence of the woods?
Winter is a good time to hike, as any mosquito types (that I know of) hate the cold. The last time we were there, we returned home to learn of the killer EEE mosquitoes in our county. Friday, we had the trail to ourselves. Unfortunately, we also saw no wildlife. No mosquitoes, deer, fish, chipmunks, squirrels, or even birds. We’ve seen them all before. We heard crows in the distance, but could not see them. It made for a very peculiar woodland hike indeed. I found a deer hoof print, slightly melted into a shape of a heart.
Jeff noted green leaves still clinging to a tree.
The keyhole tree was still there.
The True Fir Test area had grown a bit from the waist-high trees we’d seen the first time we hiked this 16 years ago.
New signs had been added since our previous visit, including information of the planned harvesting of the so-straight and tall red pines (trees used for telephone poles).
Because it was the longest hike we’d taken in a while over not-flat terrain (because of my bum-now-healed knee), it proved to be an Advil night. Well worth it, along with the photo memories from the hike through a lovely woodland area.
This brought many happy memories of many, many adventures in Kellogg Forest…during the early times in our 60 years in Battle Creek, there were picnics along the creek, walks and drives with the kids with humorous readings of the labels on the trees…later, cross country skiing and chili picnics with friends. I will always remember the sorrow of one springtime when I made my annual visit to the wildflowers and found the trees had been harvested in that part of the forest – the word Experimental became real. Not a preserve as I’d been thinking, but an ongoing management, experimental forest. It is rich with beauty and I’m glad to know the experiments continue. I may go for a walk there this winter.
It is, indeed, a lovely (managed) “park”. For both older memories and new/future adventures. Thanks for sharing your own thoughts and experiences.
Love that place. Big goal doing the big loop. Remember our getting lost out there in younger days cross country sking. Did manage to find the road to get back. Haha.