_________ October 07, 2016 _________

Hike:  Crockery Creek

Well, I have to admit something, at this point:  Ottawa County Parks are KILLING my kids’ love of hiking.  The county’s idea of hikes are a) stairs to the Big Lake, or b) trails through the middle of a bog, swamp, or wetland.  I don’t want to be in a bog, swamp, or wetland.  My kids don’t want to be in a bog, swamp, or wetland.  And we’re becoming unhappy.  Not sure what to do – I’m thinking we might either have to wait until the latter rains of October are done and stuff freezes, or pick places with higher elevation.

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It was a weird Tuesday.  First, we were supposed to do Science Tuesday at the Museum, but with Artprize… I didn’t want to go downtown, again.  So we skipped – we’ll have to insert it at another time in the month.  Second, we had to hit four libraries in four counties. (Barry, Kent, Ottawa, Allegan)… we were hopping!  Plus we brought along our sketch stuff to do while we were out to lunch.  So it was an incredibly busy day! Because of this, I chose a very short hike this time… up in Nunica.  I’d never been to Nunica, so… why not!?

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I forgot my DSLR at home, so the photos are going to suck.  I cannot figure out why the color is off so badly on my phone’s camera.  Seriously aggravating… just so you know.

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Anyhow, we got there, and it was basically a dirt road ending in a cul-de-sac at an abandoned old (centennial) farm.  You have to follow the mowed grass ‘trail’ to the right, because the mowed grass ‘trail’ to the left is cordoned off for no apparent reason except to force you past the map.  Which I guess is a good enough reason to cordon it off.  OTOH, why not just stop mowing it and let it grow up into weeds/brush?  Hrm.

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Crockery Creek looks to be land donated to the county by whoever owned that farm, and as a designated wetland (can’t be built upon), there’s nothing else to do except turn it into a park, right?  Lemme tell ya… I’m starting a serious INTERNAL RANT about the fools who are designating wetland in this state.  The bleeping whole of Michigan is so bleeping wet, there’s no bleeping reason to save ANY of it, anymore.  I’m sick to DEATH of living in swamp.  And that’s what it’s starting to feel like.  Fill that [expletive] in, for the love of Pete!!!!!!!   (( ↑  ↑  Angst.  From a woman who has snake issues.)

Back on tangent, Crockery Creek has a 0.5 mile trail (Kirkby loop), and a 1.5 mile trail (Woodland Loop)… which looks to avoid ‘BogBelly Swamp’ (on my map, trimmed from yours for space issues).  So I thought we’d be okay.  And we got on the trail… and realized that all the rains we’ve had, lately, have a yuck effect on low-lying land.  It was wet.  A beautiful day – 79 degrees and sun – but yuck on the ground.  Still… it’s just a short hike.  We’ll be fine, stretch our legs, see a new place.  Right?  ((Rah, rah, go team!!!))

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Heading out on our hike.

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LOTS of mushrooms…big ones, crazy ones, bright red and lemon yellow ones.  Some that look like giant black bacon.  I took a lot of pictures of funky ‘shroomage.

And even more fallen forest was here.  In fact, I’d say that if you’re ever in need of a walking stick, there are about forty five billion at Crockery Creek.  My kids left theirs at home, but I don’t have one… so I found a stick for myself… and then thought better and gave it to Isaac, at the front of the pack.  He’s the snake-killer-in-training, so it would be better in his hands, I figured.

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One good thing about Crockery Creek: the trails are well marked.  It was nice to have the signs to follow.  We took the smaller Kirkby trail first (and my kids scared off two white-tail deer before I got my camera app up, by shouting, “MOM!!! DEER!!!” at the tops of their lungs.  Apparently I need to teach them to be quiet for wildlife observation.  You’d think this is common sense, but no.)

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The creek called Crockery.  I feel like I’m writing it’s name a lot.

One bad thing about Crockery Creek:  SNAKE.  It’s a good thing I gave Isaac the staff, because he had to fling the bleeping thing off the trail for me.  From that second on, the entirety of our group was NOT HAPPY.  They were – in fact – in can we please go back to the car now mode.  It’s really hard to motivate your kids to keep with it when they’re squishing along, frogs jumping out at them with every step (and I’m not kidding – hundreds of frogs, as we left the forest and headed into the wetter wetlands)…

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There’s stuff in the grass.  Jumping.  Moving.  Freaking people out.
I’m just sayin’.  Lydia would not MOVE from center back.

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It was good for them to see the forest and meadows as they start to slip into ‘fall wear’.  The colors are only just starting to turn, but the ferns are curling up and going brown, and things are looking reddish around the ends.  We learned a few new plants (I stopped to take pictures, they did NOT wait for me), identifying them from the snapshots at home, later.

But man.  Enough with the wetlands, already.  There have got to be nicer places to hike than in a marsh, hello…!

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