May 24, 2015

Pinery Provincial Park: the Hickory Nature and Bittersweet Trails

For our second full day at the Pinery, my Mom suggested hiking the Hickory and Bittersweet Trails.  Both are short loops through the forest along the Old Ausable Channel.  The Hickory Trail starts right from the parking area west of the of the road, while the Bittersweet Trail is on the east side of the road and is accessed via a short crosswalk.

We headed down the Hickory Trail first, passing through pine/oak/hickory woods before descending to the channel.  There was another Photo Monitoring Post, like the one we saw on the Heritage Trail, and we all indulged in documentation.  Once again, there were many wildflowers in bloom, including Illinois carrion flower, which was particularly exciting for me, as I'd never seen that species before.  I kept muttering, it's some kind of Smilax, but... I had no keys with me and and had to wait until I got home to solve that little mystery.
When we were most of the way around the Hickory Trail, Frankie and Grandma started running ahead, and this silliness continued for much of the Bittersweet Trail as well.  Keith and I puttered along at a more reasonable pace, and eventually found some sticks arrows pointing the way Grandma and Frankie had gone.  We all reconvened at the viewing platform along the channel and enjoyed the waterfront with bright yellow spatterdock in bloom.  Another great day at the Pinery!

There was a PhotoMon almost immediately as we headed down the Hickory Trail.
Waiting our turn to use the PhotoMon.
My official PhotoMon picture. 
Another PhotoMon group portrait.
Trail register.
Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
The Hickory Nature Trail.
Old Ausable Channel.
Bladdernut (Staphylea trifoliata)

Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata)
Frankie and Grandma!

Illinois carrion flower (Smilax illinoensis)

Fringed polygala (Polygala paucifolia)

The Bittersweet Trail.
On the Bittersweet Trail (photo by Keith)
Grandma showed Frankie how to make arrows from sticks. 
Old Ausable Channel

Keith and Mary

Another trail register at the end of our hike.