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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Newport State Park Bug-Me-Not Test Results

When I mentioned buying the Bug-Me-Not spray on my post about The Ridges I had some folks wondering whether the natural concoction worked or not.  As we discovered on the Lynd Point trail loop in Newport State Park the answer to that question is...kind of.

To reach the Lynd Point Trail Loop you start out on the Europe Bay Trail.  Once we got into the mosquito infested woods, it was best to keep moving if you didn't want to get bitten.  Even with the spray on they were deterred, but there always seemed to be a few who would land anyway given the opportunity.

I did get to spot a few new wildflowers to check off my list, including this Blue Bead Lily.  I know it doesn't look like blue beads now, but it will get cute blue berries later in the season.  It's probably the plant I saw while at Bear Head Lake State Park in Minnesota and didn't know it at the time.

While in Door County I also saw plenty of Canada Mayflower, but this shot below was the keeper due to its composition.  Canada Mayflower looks nothing like regular Mayflower. It more closely resembles Lily of the Valley and I've seen its berries before too.  The immature berries are cream and red speckled, which deepen to a dark red.  It also is very similar to False Solomon's Seal/Starry Solomon's Seal, but you can tell the difference by the 4 petals on the flower instead of 6.  Flower identification isn't easy, let me tell ya.

Know what else we saw a lot of?  Slugs.  Everywhere.  No wonder the mosquitoes were thriving, the dampness was pervasive.  Yes, that's a word, if you don't believe me look it up.

Something else that was pervasive in Door County is Thimbleberry.  I'd never heard of it but noticed it was well represented in the mural I saw in Baileys Harbor our first day in town.  Once it started blooming it didn't take me long to find out what it was and I was glad to have that mystery solved.

The plant is a good understory shrub that does well in sun or shade and unlike its relative the raspberry does not have thorns.  Compared to the raspberry plant the leaves and flowers are larger and it grows in lovely soft patches that lined trails and driveways all over Door County.  The berries aren't as tasty as raspberry, but are still edible and are used in cooking.  Another interesting sidenote I stumbled across online is that the large leaves can be used as toilet paper if needed while hiking.  Good to know.

I couldn't find any information about Lynd Point itself online.  There were a couple of side trails that went out to the shoreline, but the trail mostly stayed inland where the mosquitoes were hungry.

Even though there wasn't much to see we hung around the shore a few minutes to escape the pests and the stifling humidity under the canopy.

I was so desperate for an excuse not to go back into the woods that I searched for lichens to photograph.  I didn't find the kind of variety that I saw at The Ridges, but I did find this tiny little still life.  More on my lichen finds in an upcoming post.  Trust me, it'll be interesting...I hope.

While on the trail we heard some cranes calling and made our way out onto the Point to see them.  I don't know if they had young with them, I didn't want to get close enough to make them take wing.

Slugs and Cranes whet your appetite for more critters?  Saturday's Critters should have a few, but that's all that we saw that day.  A little further on we found a side trail that went out onto a more open spot on the Point.

I was wearing all the clothes in an attempt to deter the flying menace.  It helped.  However, I was soaked in sweat.  When we got back to the truck I hauled off my shirt before even getting in the vehicle.  The look on Wayne's face was priceless!  I was wearing a sports bra, for heaven's sake I see ladies jogging down the road in those things.  I was quite the eyeful as we drove out of the park with my shirt hanging out the window in an attempt to get it dry enough to put back on.  Sorry, no picture, you'll just have to do with the mental image you come up with on your own.

Adorable Beach Heather/False Heather

Newport State Park has a handful of rustic campsites and along this trail we passed two of them.  Can you imagine camping in hordes of mosquitoes without any facilities?

Shells make up the "beach" on the Point

They also have at least one "bike" site, which we swung past on the Europe Bay section on our way out of the woods.  All sites are primitive walk-to sites and there are no shower facilities or a dump station at this park.  However, I did find a website with a review from someone who camps here with some great tips if you'd like to give it a try.

The final word on the bug spray was it needed reapplying every 30-40 minutes and was only efficient as long as you kept moving.  Apparently the frequent reapplication is common to natural deterrents, which I don't understand considering I had to wash our clothes three times to get the smell out.  Every year I try something new, and it always comes down to trying to avoid their habitat altogether is really the best option.  This year that is more difficult as breeding conditions seem off the charts, presumably due to our late spring thaw and the excessive rain we've received since then.

It was hard to keep an eye out for new plants as we speed walked through mosquito-alley, but I did grab a shot of what turned out to be Creeping Dogwood also known as Bunchberry.  This relative of the Dogwood only grows to about 8 inches, which actually looked rather large compared to other wildflowers I've spotted this year.   Not only was the bloom cute, but the arrangement of the leaves was very pleasing as well.

Always happy to see a patch of Columbine!

There is lots of hiking at this park, and the Europe Bay Trail is even mountain bike accessible.  Next time we come to Door County I'd like to bike all the way out to Europe Lake and the fall when the mosquitoes have left town.


  1. Looks like a pretty place for a hike.. It was cool to see the cranes, they are awesome birds. wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing your post with my critter party.. Have a happy weekend!

  2. Great shots of the park but I think it might be better later with out the biting bugs! Lovely to see the Cranes. Have a great weekend.

  3. oh this looks like a wonderful adventure....somplace i would love to go!! beautiful images, i especially enjoyed the cranes!!! have a wonderful weekend!!!

  4. Too bad about the spray not working all that well. Someone feeds to invent a "force field" to keep them well away which is what I want. How does Wayne manage the menace with short pants on?

  5. Loved seeing the cranes. The slugs, not so much. I'm not well versed in wild flowers and most of these were not familiar names to me!
    I've also tried that bug spray and found the same result - you had to keep moving for it to work at all.

  6. What a beautiful place to visit! Luckily we haven't had too many mosquitoes yet this summer.

  7. Looks like a beautiful area for hiking, too bad your bug spray didn't work altogether.

    Love all your photos

  8. Beautiful photographs. This looks like a wonderful place to visit but I really am tiring of the mosquitos. I don't usually want to hike as fast as I have to to avoid them. Thanks for the spray report. I have found the same with everything non deet. sigh....