My husband and I normally don’t hike in the summer. Too many bugs and too many people (who can bug us). But it had been a long time since we were woodlanders, so I packed us a lunch and we headed off ninety minutes from our home to Waterloo-Pickering State Park west of Ann Arbor, MI.
We stopped at the bird sanctuary, but didn’t see any birds. We passed the small cemetery, which we’ve explored before, with some gravestones in a wooded ravine away from the others on the hill. We ate lunch at Portage Lake, for the first time we didn’t freezing our tails off there. We drove the pleasant, winding, dirt backroads to the Gerald E Eddy Discovery Center, passing various trailheads we’d hiked before. We decided to take the short Bog Trail.
The last time we were on the Bog Trail, there was a group of young boy scouts with a den mother. They were all in shorts and short-sleeves. The mom nearly begged us if we had any mosquito repellant. Amusing, considering the Boy Scout motto to be prepared. The pack used up our supply, but we’d already put some on ourselves before starting out.
Several observances on the trail this time. It was lovely green from all the rain we’d had. Yes, there were mosquitoes and gnats, but there was also a breeze now and again. And I keep my handkerchief in continuous motion around my shoulders, head and neck in bug country to discourage any landing parties.
They had put up new boardwalks for half of the walks. You could see the cross boards of the old one below, covered with moss.
The end of the trail was a boardwalk into the bog. It had been a couple or more years since we were last there. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that the bog had grown up. Before we used to be able to look across it to the wooded hill beyond. Today, you have to know there’s a wooded hill way back over there and search for it between the tamrack trees and other bush growing seven foot tall around the walk.
I also discovered a new flower. Over the years, we’ve hiked hundreds of miles, and I’ve never seen this particular flower before, with a two foot stem and brilliant upsidedown maroon bloom. At first I thought it was a pitcher plant flower, but DH pointed out that it wasn’t consistently coming from the plants. I decided to name it after us like all new scientific discoveries – a sanjef bogster. Back at the Discovery Center, we discovered it is indeed a pitcher plant flower. Surprisingly, although not quite since we don’t do many summer hikes, we’d never seen one of these before. But it will still be known to us forever as a sanjef bogster.