Last week Pam and I spent 5 nights at the northern Michigan resort, Boyne Mountain. This is a ski, golf, and water park resort – and our unplanned trip in late April came at the time when most of these activities were down. All but the deepest snow on the ski slopes had melted, and the golf courses, historical museums, and other local attractions were all scheduled to open on the first Monday of May.
Well, it’s not like we ski or golf, anyhow…
We spent most of our time hiking in the various open public lands in the north country. We visited a few state parks – Young State Park just north of Boyne City, and Northport / Leelanau State Park on the Leelanau peninsula. But most of our time was spent exploring the Jordan River Valley, which we either accessed directly through seasonal roads in the surrounding state forest, or via the Deadman’s Hill Overlook or Warner Creek Trail.
Just driving 250 miles north, and getting closer to Lake Michigan, was like taking a time machine back a few weeks into the very early spring. The northern woods were full of Hepatica, which was blooming at its peak. Trout Lily carpeted most of the Jordan River Valley, and was just starting to open up at the end of our stay. Trillium were also abundant, although they were just beginning to bloom. The trees were just starting to bud and send out new leaves, which gave the forest a light and airy feel, with warm colors.
The Jordan River itself proved to be a great photographic subject. Not a large river, but crystal clear and full of little islands. The river is a great trout stream, and a state fish hatchery is located in the Jordan River Valley.
The early spring setting created some interesting light and color effects. The dried grass and leaves created a golden hue, offset by the pale greens of emerging tree leaves and the deep greens of the pines and arborvitae that dotted the landscape. Marsh Marigold bloomed along the river’s banks, and numerous logs extended out into the shallow water, making perfect platforms for getting out into the river for shots of the islands.
The spring landscape, sun dappled water, and grassy islets certainly made for some great subject matter.
The Skegemog Swamp Pathway was another easy walk. The trail follows an abandoned railroad bed into the swamp, ending at an elevated observation platform. The swamp itself was an interesting setting – a great combination of living and dead trees; water, mud, and vegetation. We only spent an hour or so on the trail, but it still provided some great photo opportunities.
Many more shots from this trip:
Around the Jordan River: