Michigan has such beautiful nature!

 
I have not traveled all over the world, in fact I’ve only barely been out of the USA, into neighboring areas of Canada. However, I have traveled through and stayed in over 30 different states, seen the towering flat-topped mesas, roaring wet Niagara Falls, the abyss of the Grand Canyon, and the stately redwoods of the west coast. I’ve seen the bison of the Great Plains and I’ve been deep in the heart of both mountain chains — the Rockies in the West and the Appalachians in the East. I have hiked part of the Appalachian Trail, and I’ve stood on top of Clingman’s Dome. So, you could say I’ve been blessed with MANY opportunities to experience nature in various guises. 😀

   

 
Realizing that everyone’s particular tastes are different AND that some day I may have travel experiences that change this, I have to say that my favorite place on Earth is STILL the general area in which I was born — mid-Michigan north of Detroit on the east side, and across the state to Muskegon and Holland on the west side.

 
The west has the Outdoor Discovery Center and amazing state parks like PJ Hoffmaster SP and Muskegon SP, along with an abundance of amazingly unspoiled State Game Areas such as Rogue River SGA, where I took pics of The Humble Plant.
 
In the east, north of Detroit, some of the best nature areas are preserved in a series of Metroparks. In fact, my all-time favorite spot on Earth to this day is Stoney Creek Metropark Nature Center — a little patch of land that encompasses wetland, beech forest, and open meadow, and where I found some of my first humble plants and wild ginger growing along the winding stream.

 

 
I haven’t been to my beloved nature center along Stoney Creek (often spelled without the e) in over a decade, and unfortunately even then it had started to show signs of decline from too much human traffic, but back in the 1990s it appealed to me like no other place I’ve ever been. It felt like HOME, and the memory of it serves as a benchmark for me, a plumbline against which I measure natural beauty. I have stood still in its woods, watching deer watching me, for breathless, countless minutes. I have squealed with delight over finding the fascinating but almost imperceptible wild ginger flowers nestled under their velvety umbrella leaves, inches from the water and only a foot or two off the main trail. I have walked through its beech forest, accompanied by the pips of chipmunks and the groaning of the smooth trunks in the wind. I have sat still on the ground for an hour in a meadow there, waiting to see a wild fox which I was SURE would love this place — perfect for hunting mice and voles! And I have paused for only a moment in the areas of pond and stream, and been rewarded with a quick sight of a weasel emerging out of the water and a woodchuck crunching on water plants on the bank. I can’t say that I ever achieved my goal of becoming “one with nature” here, but I can say that THIS is the place that gave me the desire for it! :O>

 

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