Autumn Camping 2019 (Part one)


JBtheExplorer

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I spent last week on my annual autumn camping trip to close out the season. It tends to be the last "good" part of the year before things get cold and ugly. This year, I had a longer trip than usual, and spent it at two different places. The first place was Point Beach State Forest. I go here just about every year, so some of you may remember it from last year when I also shared photos.

Here's the lighthouse this year.
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Something interesting happened this year. I had five camping trips since summer and I saw Bald Eagles during every trip. Before this year, I'd only seen them a few times, ever, so it was pretty surprising to see them everywhere this year. Their population must be doing well! This one was flying down the beach. I thought I was too late to get a photo, but then it landed in a tree way down the beach. Would've loved to get a better photo, but it flew off before I ever had a chance. I actually saw a total of three during my few days here.

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I also saw Turkey vultures, which isn't surprising. They're extremely common.
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One day, as I was walking down the beach, I found a Green Frog. I've never seen frogs on the shore of Lake Michigan before. The rough waters are not what frogs like. I think the cold and dry weather may have forced it to stay there until it could travel to a better location.
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Plenty of amphibians in the forest, too. I saw at least a dozen salamanders, and a couple of Wood frogs.
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Whenever I camp here, I get up early to catch the sunrise over the lake. There was only one sunny morning this year, and it wasn't the most spectacular sunrise, but still fun watching it rise over the lake.
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Little did I know, I'd also get to see the moon rise over the lake. It was more stunning than the sunrise. It was orange and just a couple days after being full. In this photo, I overlaid a second exposure of the moon to bring out the detail of the moon.
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Autumn color seemed to be about 75%, but varied at different areas within the forest. Here's some color along the road entering the campground.
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Last year, I discovered the mouth of the Molash Creek. It was a scenic area and it was at the top of my list of things to do this year. It was equally as scenic this year, but the mouth itself had shifted about 100 feet south, shortening the distance it parallels the shoreline. This was likely caused by Lake Michigan's record high water level. Last year, I visited the south/east side of the river. This year, I took a different trail and saw the river from the north/west side.

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Lastly, with Lake Michigan's record water level, there has been destruction along the shore. The water was shockingly high last year, and is considerably higher this year. It's been eating away at the sand dunes and knocking down trees.

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Down by the lighthouse, it's pretty incredible to see the dunes eaten away. I have no comparison photo, but in 2013, the water level was at a record low, so to see this much of a difference in 6 years is just insane. The water wasn't even close to these dunes six years ago.
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This tree in particular is one I had photographed for years. It stood along a cordwalk in the sand and I always thought it was a cool scene. I was shocked to see it was one of the many casualties.
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Hope you all enjoyed the photos. I'll share the second part of my trip soon, which was in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.
 
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My folks have a place on Grand Traverse Bay ( Lake Michigan ) and Mom said they hardly had any beach this year, the water was so high ! So sad to see that magnificent tree on it's side :( They say seeing salamanders is a sign of a balanced eco system, so it's nice you saw them :)

Thank you for sharing such lovely pictures with us.
 

JBtheExplorer

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They say seeing salamanders is a sign of a balanced eco system, so it's nice you saw them :)
Endless salamanders in this forest, largely due to the dune and swale landscape, which means there are all sorts of great vernal ponds in the forest. Fantastic breeding grounds for amphibians. It really does feel like one of the most well-balanced ecosystems I've been in, largely because it's so undeveloped. Only one road through it, so even though it's fairly small in size, nature has a great amount of privacy within it.
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BEAUTIFUL! What lovely pictures! (As an aside, I absolutely love salamanders!)

We had some at our house that were black with gold metallic flecks. Very cool!
 

JBtheExplorer

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We're lucky to have such a magnificent body of water so close.
Indeed. I grew up just a couple blocks away from the lake, so it was just an every day reality. Didn't realize until I was much older how lucky I've been to live near one of the great lakes. So many people will sadly never know what the great lakes or oceans look like in person.
 
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Very cool place jb. and yes the eagles have made as huge comeback they call them dump ducks in Alaska . If anyone wants to watch eagles and they are not really seen in your area try your local landfill or if there is one a hydro electric dam. That where i am heading for the next couple of days. The Conowingo dam in Maryland . I have been there a few times now this time of year the first year no joke there way over 200 eagles there other years it was maybe 40. This is the weekend they call it the eagle week people fly in from all over the world. the last time i was there my neighbor along the shore line took a pick of everyone lined up as most were from china and then there was me looking like lerch
 
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JBtheExplorer

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If anyone wants to watch eagles and they are not really seen in your area try your local landfill or if there is one a hydro electric dam. That where i am heading for the next couple of days. The Conowingo dam in Maryland . I have been there a few times now this time of year the first year no joke there way over 200 eagles there other years it was maybe 40.
Unfortunately, we don't see eagles in any notable numbers here in southeast Wisconsin. I'm in the very worst part of the state to see them.
Actually, I'm in the worst part of the state for just about any animal. Too much city here. There are a couple eagle nests in the general area that have been documented, but they don't gather around here like they do in northern and western Wisconsin.
 
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Unfortunately, we don't see eagles in any notable numbers here in southeast Wisconsin. I'm in the very worst part of the state to see them.
Actually, I'm in the worst part of the state for just about any animal. Too much city here. There are a couple eagle nests in the general area that have been documented, but they don't gather around here like they do in northern and western Wisconsin.
from your posts it looks like a pretty nice area.
I have traveled all over the country and unfortunately where I usually see the most wild life is in the rural areas. there the habitats are limited and they congregate to those areas. usually power lines gas line and resivours my area being the first.
unfortunately no eagles this week for mr after all it's a 6 hour drive and I have been there many times so I decided to go on a road trip. I'm heading south toward Nashville at least that's the general direction
 
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My parents built a second home that sits on top of a sand dune over looking Grand Traverse Bay ( Lake Michigan ). Best sunsets and one of my very favorite places to be ! I used to think I'd live there once retired, but it's kind of remote and cold, not too close to hospitals, stores etc.
 
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My parents built a second home that sits on top of a sand dune over looking Grand Traverse Bay ( Lake Michigan ). Best sunsets and one of my very favorite places to be ! I used to think I'd live there once retired, but it's kind of remote and cold, not too close to hospitals, stores etc.
Homes like that are only good for vacations. I can just imagine how pretty it is. But once you get old, you'll pick a place near hospitals and shops for convenience.
 

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