Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rifle River Recreation Area

The Rifle River Recreation Area is located near West Branch, Michigan. It encompasses 4,449 acres.  The land was originally private land.  It was purchased by the Department of Conservation in 1945 and was turned over to the Parks Department in 1963.

Grousehaven Lake is one of the three large lakes in the park. It appears pretty shallow and the shore appears to be sandy along the whole perimeter.

There are a number of different types of orchids in the area.  I think these are Lady Slippers.

Pintail Pond is a fen.   A fen is a type of wetland characterized by neutral to alkaline water.

There is a trail around the pond.  There were some Canada Geese there, but the highlight was the orchids and the pitcher plants.

The flower of the pitcher plant.  The plants get some of their nutrients from insects that get trapped.

A closeup of the flower.  Although not as colorful as other flowers, this is still a pretty plant.

This is part of the fen with a number of pitcher plants.  Unfortunately, the beauty of the area didn't translate well in my image.

A peaceful waterway running through the area.

Looking off the trail into the woods.

After hiking around Pintail Pond and taking a break for lunch, we took another hike.  This is part of the trail.  It was incredibly peaceful.

Grebe Lake from the observation tower.  There are no motors allowed and there is a cabin along the shore you can rent.

I thought this butterfly had been hit by a car and was dead.  I snapped a couple of pictures and a moment later it took to the air and flew off.

Loons!  I love loons.  I love the sound of the loon.  Here a pair of adults with their two young.  One is hitching a ride on it's parent.  I could have watched them for much longer than I did, but I did have a time deadline.

The Rifle River.

I'm not sure what kind of flower this is, but it was very pretty.

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