Pipestone Creek A49 to A51 and beyond

Twenty-three people came out to hike the Pipestone Creek trail on a beautiful sunny day.

The terrain ranges from open fields to leafy woods to deep dark forests. We found the heat and humidity withering at times, but there were some spots with cooling breezes. The trail conditions were impeccable, have just been cleared the Wednesday before.

From the start, 17 hikers opted to walk at the regular Waskahegan pace. They continued to the lunch spot at the end of a high meadow with a view of the creek below. Along the way they encountered a skittish herd of cattle and a screeching hawk. Their total hike distance was 10.6 km.

The remaining 6 hikers took a slower pace to investigate and photograph the trail’s abundant flora. For them, the trail had some unexpected treats—wood lilies, a plant that might be an orchid, and a lot of large butterflies, including a yellow swallowtail. The flower group got as far as the bridge at A50 and hiked a total distance of 6.8 km.

On the return, the two groups converged at a stile less than a kilometer from the cars. This hike was our first time we attempted to have a both regular-paced group and a slow group. It worked well.

As I was with the flower group and obsessed as usual with flowers, I missed getting pictures of the larger group. All I have is what’s here and on Flickr. But I heard the regular group say they really enjoyed the hike. There were a lot of smiling faces.

In our Flickr album, you’ll find more than 35 different flower species.

Saunders Lake Hike: Birds of All Kinds

Thirteen people came out to hike the Saunders Lake trail. After negotiating the electric fence in our unique ways, we marched forward along the lake.

Saunders Lake is a great place to see birds. Besides the ubiquitous red-winged blackbird along the shore, we saw different kinds of ducks, perhaps mergansers, a grebe, and coots in the water. Swooping over our heads were swallows and chickadees.

 

We also saw a pair of bald eagles settled into their nest across the lake—perhaps the same eagles we spotted last year. Definitely it’s the same nest.

Yellow warblers were also spotted, but alas, no pictures.

And then there was an interesting pair of birds that we could not identify. This species is somewhat larger than a robin. Do you know what this is?

The weather was warm, sunny, and quite humid. The breezes kept the mosquitoes at bay for most of the walk. There were a few types of wildflowers.

Total distance covered was almost 10 km. View more pictures on Flickr from Seonhee, Stella, and JoAnne.