Refuge Gateway: Humbug Marsh – Part II

[This post continues my spotlight on the 44-acre Refuge Gateway of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, located on the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River in Trenton, Michigan.]

Today’s post is only about Humbug Marsh. If you missed Part I from Monday, you can find it by clicking here. Yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post was a Great Blue Heron from this venue.

The Humbug Marsh portion of the Trenton Refuge Gateway is a 410-acre parcel of land and contains the last mile of natural shoreline along the U.S. mainland portion of the Detroit River. While one mile may not seem like a big deal, the other 97% of the Detroit shoreline has been disturbed or destroyed.

Fall Trip #2 to this venue was on Halloween morning, a glorious Fall Saturday and the leaves were still vibrant enough to ooh and aah over. I was early, so the crowds were minimal and the photo ops were plentiful.

Observation decks.

I meandered along the shoreline and edge of the Old Growth Forest. The colors were at their peak at Humbug Island. This photo was taken from one of the observation decks.

Multiple observation decks along the edge of the forest seemed like the perfect way to while away a few hours and rest after hiking, if you’re so inclined. This deck with its colorful Adirondack chairs welcomed you to sit a spell.

I liked this outlook which jutted into the River. There was a great view of the Detroit River and Humbug Island, with or without using a telescope. This ramp/deck, like the others, was handicapped accessible and one of the telescopes was positioned lower for wheelchair users.

This unique-looking observation deck was covered in branches and twigs to blend into the woodsy area. What a great opportunity to check out and/or photograph the more than 17 species of migrating raptors that will stop by here on their migration route. This is the same migration route that has folks flocking to Lake Erie Metropark’s boat launch area in late September. Also, there is a pair of nesting Eagles at Humbug Island.

But, with all these overlooks along the shoreline enticing you to stop and gaze at the natural beauty, you must not overlook the three miles of hiking trails throughout the Old Growth Forest.

Old Growth Forest.

The 300-year-old Old Growth Forest is where I spent the bulk of my time while at Humbug Marsh on this trip. Since my first trip to this locale six days before, I read additional comments posted by hikers about their impressions at this locale. There was a deer sighting. Oh, that would be exciting to see. I also wondered if someone (maybe even me) might spot a Mink or an Eastern Fox Snake, the most-popular inhabitants of this forest. A mink would have been preferable to a snake unless I was far enough away.

As I walked along the designated Orange and Green Trails, I searched for the Shagbark Hickory trees that people had also commented on. I researched a little beforehand to ensure I could identify such a tree – it wasn’t difficult when you see the bark. I learned Shagbark Hickories could grow to 100 feet and live for 350 years. There were many tall, old Oak trees in the forest as well.

The trails wend through the forest and/or down to the water.

I wandered down to the water but saw no waterfowl, so headed back onto the trail, which was raised in some places, rustic in others.

Vernal pond.

One of the trails led to a Vernal pond with an information stand. Vernal ponds usually form after snow runoff and Springtime rain and are teeming with aquatic wildlife, including the tiny Western Chorus Frogs a/k/a Spring Peepers. Last year just before Grosse Ile closed the free bridge, I went over to the Island to a Vernal pool at Meridian Woods in search of Spring Peepers, but heard and saw none. P.S. I did return here to this Vernal pond on the first full day of Spring looking for Spring Peepers, but there were none. It was chilly out – maybe that’s why, or, they slept in, having lost an hour’s sleep.

Fall Trip #3 was an impromptu visit on December 6th after I declared “Bah humbug for writing Christmas cards – I’m going to Humbug Marsh instead!” We’d had a minor snowfall earlier in the week and what a difference five weeks’ time made on the landscape. Everything was dull and the marsh area water and Vernal pond were frozen and littered with leaves and the trees were now bare.

There were dribs and drabs of snow as well. The fishing pier had lost its allure with not a single soul, except me. I must say that on my multiple trips to this venue, critters were scarce.

I’m looking forward to visiting again in warmer weather because, from what I’ve read, it will be a treasure trove of natural beauty, including wildflowers like Swamp Roses which are a type of Hibiscus. Humbug Marsh was a peaceful venue and this particular spot struck me as very serene.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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48 Responses to Refuge Gateway: Humbug Marsh – Part II

  1. Beautiful place to explore. The pictures along with your observations were great. It could be a travel post for that marsh for visitors! The wooden path along the marsh looks like so much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Esther – I am glad you liked the post. I am looking forward to exploring more once it warms up and the trees leaf out more and also to see the wildflowers. And hopefully more birds as well. Today, they posted a note that they will be open now 7 days a week, instead of just Thursday – Sunday, so perhaps that means less crowds on weekends once it warms up. I was wondering why some paths are raised up and cut off suddenly to just a trail? Maybe they will be enhancing it more later.

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      • The wildflowers will be very pretty; you never know which kinds of flowers will bloom. Things are beginning to open up with people getting vaccinated. Same thing is happening in CA., but libraries are still closed (only curbside pickup). I hope people still wear their masks and practice social distancing.
        Good hypotheses and close observation about the path trails! I’ve seen something like that on our marsh field trip here, but didn’t think to question that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Well I read that a lot will be opening up in a few months in California so your Governor was urging everyone to get vaccinated – hopefully they don’t rush it too much (like Michigan – we are having horrible stats now and may be entering a fourth wave and the Governor says people are “COVID weary” and sick of wearing masks and staying home.” It’s not that difficult to do it a little longer … we have come so far, so don’t drop the ball now.

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  2. bekitschig says:

    Beautiful photos Linda! Have a lovely long weekend

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean says:

    Aside from the loud orange Adirondack chairs, this marsh is very calm. I don’t know that I’ve ever wandered through a 300-year-old forest. Or if I did I didn’t know it. Lovely photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Ally – glad you liked the photos.
      Like you, I liked the serenity of the marsh, but really don’t “get” why they would have these loud orange Adirondack chairs. Maybe they ought to swap ’em with the lime green chairs at the Visitor Center … they would blend into the surroundings better.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Again, great photos that capture the scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That was quite a walk! I liked seeing two seasons, and I particularly enjoyed the human nest/bird blind observation deck. That tickled my funny bone.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Looks like a greats place Linda. Your pictures capture it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Andy – glad you liked it and the photos. This is a place you would enjoy. Not many birds, but it was late Fall, save for the heron from yesterday’s post, but I’m sure they will be plentiful once the warmer weather gets here.

      Like

  7. You should contact the Parks admin and find out who takes care of PR? I think you would do a excellent job on informing park visitors of the recent goings on in a given area. I’m not sure how?
    Maybe a single page hand out or a podcast? The Park could hire you as part of a PR program to get people out and Lord knows people need to get more in touch with Nature right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      That is nice of you to say that Wayne – it would be fun to do. I know that this particular Facebook site posts are generated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That kind of surprised me at first. The Refuge/Humbug Marsh is now open 7 days a week, starting yesterday. I am looking forward to returning once the leaves and wildflowers are out and hopefully more waterfowl as well. I did see the Great Egret, but he flew off. I felt pretty lucky to get the heron shots … he was just ten feet away from me.

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  8. Sandra J says:

    That is a pretty impressive park, they did a good job with the observation decks, the blind made with sticks. I have never seen a park made so well for folks to view nature and enjoy the outdoors. Very nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I thought they did a great job too Sandra. I’m looking forward to returning in the warmer weather, when the leaves and wildflowers are out. I’d really like to see those “swamp roses” they say are wild hibiscus. (Hope I can find them.)

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  9. Ron Walker says:

    What a nice setting. I love the fact that they painted the chairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dave says:

    Thank you for the tour, Linda. The raised walkways, trails, and observation decks seem very well designed in concert with the natural surroundings. A lot of thought appears to have gone into maximizing the visitor experience. “Humbug Marsh” and “Old Growth Forest” have an almost mystical sound to them; perhaps straight out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of hobbits.

    Like

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the tour Dave. I’m probably the only one in the world who has never read J.R.R. Tolkien but I like the names they have coined for the main attractions here, including the name Monguagon Delta. I think they’ll be very busy now as we ease into the warmer months – so much more to see. And, as of yesterday, they are now open seven days a week. I like how they did the overlooks, though I suspect they will be crowded once migration season begins.

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  11. ruthsoaper says:

    A nice tour Linda. I imagine the raised trails are necessary to access some of the wetland areas. Are the stay on the trail signs in specific areas or throughout the park? Funny you pointed out the shagbark hickory. We have them growing on the farm and I plan to include one in the post I am working on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the tour Ruth. I know it was more colorful than Monday’s post. No, they only had the trail signs in some areas and for some reason, those signs and the “planting in progress” signs were covering up other signs. I wasn’t sure why. That is funny about the shagbark hickory. I may have seen that over the years, but not around here. A fellow blogger who lives in Connecticut and hikes in similar woodsy areas mentioned seeing a shagbark hickory in one of her posts … seems we are all on the same wavelength and it’s not even Arbor Day.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Remaining on the trails is a great way to let Nature be herself! A wonderful, magical place! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, it sure is a magical place Tom and I am looking forward to going back once everything greens up again. I like what they have done to this wildlife preserve, especially the rustic
      Humbug Marsh. I hope to see that heron (from my Wordless Wednesday post) again. He was all by himself, no around, paying me no mind while he fished or looked for fish. I think it is a place to be enjoyed in the morning for its peace and serenity.

      Like

  13. Laurie says:

    I love watching the fall raptor migration. This looks like the perfect spot to do it. The Adirondack chair photos are so pretty. I love that splash of color. Those shagbark hickories are easy to spot, aren’t they? What a wonderful new destination for you to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      This is just four miles from Lake Erie Metropark and every year they have Hawkfest around the first day of Fall. It is a 2 1/2-day event and they have handlers bring their raptors and give talks. Many birders and photographers come for the entire event which kicks off on Friday night. It is at the boat launch area – they have an official counter that takes tallies of various birds for the entire Fall/migrating season. I am looking forward to return more as everything greens up again. This was my first time looking for shagbark hickories – I don’t know how I missed them the first time!

      Like

  14. ver from Barbara’s. Interesting how in that opening pic of the island one can see a mix of fall colors and spring green. The Shagbark Hickories remind me of a previous home that was on the street of that name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you for stopping by Frank. I think you may have been by another time in the past – or I had looked at your blog. The pictures in this post were taken on Halloween and probably just past peak as there were some leaves missing in the forest area. My first time really seeing a Shagbark Hickory and so I made a point of looking for it after some people commented on the site’s Facebook page. I was impressed how long they live and how tall they grow. That would be a unique name for a street. My street is just a plain, ordinary and unimaginative street name.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Loved the pictures of the shagbark hickories! I also love the leaves under the water in the vernal pool, both unfrozen and frozen. Your photos are beautiful and when you go back I hope you get to hear some peepers and see some waterbirds! It looks like such an enchanting place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I thought you would love those shagbark hickory pictures Barbara as you had mentioned them in a post. I liked that Vernal pool and hope to see the peepers again. I went back on the first day of Spring – it was a very cold day so they may not have been out due to that. I’m also hoping to see the Egret that I missed and maybe that Heron again since he was so accommodating. I am glad you enjoyed the post Barbara. Your/my kind of place.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. What a wonderful transformation of the river front by returning it to its natural state. It might take a while for the critters to show up and feel at home there, but they will come eventually. We used to live near an old-growth redwood forest and loved hiking there. How wonderful for you to be so close to this park and to be able to go there regularly. Great tour and pictures, Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the tour Sabine. That does make sense that some of the critters may have stayed away, but maybe now, with warmer weather they will show up – hopefully more waterfowl as well. They are now open 7 days a week, though I will just be going on weekends while still working. I am so pleased it has finally opened after waiting all these years and hopefully many more treks there. Oh, an old redwood forest would be great with all those big and grand redwoods. I remember going through Muir Woods and seeing the redwoods when I took a tour up the California coast.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Joni says:

    What a wonderful park. I could see myself siting in those chairs with a thermos of coffee!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh how I love to sit on the observation decks and watch nature. I remember taking my clients and they never had the patience to on sit long enough to discover what lurks below…lol I also love that the metro parks build the walkways. These pictures are what our metro parks are like too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I think it is going to be busy come Fall migration and on a nice day to spend a few relaxing hours in such a great location. Your clients might have seen that big heron pop out of the water and been startled by him like I was. He was in the water walking around and made a big splash and I looked over at him.

      Liked by 1 person

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