On one hand, grassy marsh meadows soon give way to dark Lost Lake. On the other, big Hamlin Lake lies sparkling in the sun.
This year I finally had a chance to walk the Ridge Trail and complete the loop. As you would expect from its name, the Ridge Trail runs along a sand dune ridge. Unlike the smaller grassy beach dunes, these dunes are wooded.
The trail climbs so steeply at first as to need wooden stairs, and then settles into a gentler rise. The top of the ridge is narrow; just on either edge of the trail, the land drops precipitously into deep valleys.
Roots like this and the weathered remains of old trees lie everywhere on the ridge, a sculpture garden left behind by elfin artists.
Further along, a side trail winds through open dunes to overlook Hamlin Lake. A great spot for lunch, except for the mayflies. Can you see that X-shaped thing hovering over the small bush in the center? (As always, click the photo to see a larger image.)
No, that’s not a tiny spaceship. It’s a mayfly that managed to photo-bomb my perfectly nice landscape shot.
FUN FACT: Mayfly naiads (the immature stage) live a year or two on the bottom of lakes, molting several times. The final molt produces the adult mayfly, which will live only a day or two. They’re harmless to humans – except that often they all mature at once, creating swarms that can really annoy the unsuspecting picnicker.
Last winter was rough here in Michigan, and portions of the path must be traversed with care. Erosion along the shore of Hamlin Lake undermines soil and trees alike.