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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

8 Ticks and 1 Big Spider

Okay, remember I told you that Governor Thompson State Park was full of ticks back in July?  Who knew a beautiful trail such as the Thunder Mountain trail harbored so much trouble?

It started out lovely, lots of ferns, lots of wildflowers.

Whorled Loosestrife was very plentiful

At about the halfway point there was a short spur which left the Thunder Mountain trail and headed toward the Sunset Trail on the Flowage trail for a few minutes.

I couldn't resist that open, sunny, sandy trail which was most likely free of ticks, right?

lycoperdon marginatum (Spiny Puffball) - looks like Mickey Mouse!

It was not, however, free of gigantic spiders.  All the hair stood up on my neck when I spotted this predator in the brush at the side of the trail.  Luckily for me it appeared to enjoy dining on dragonflies.

Still, I wasn't taking any chances and I stepped very carefully around the web, making sure not to touch it and disrupt its owner.  I had to give up on getting a better shot of it feeding, it was just too risky.

I tried identifying it online but there was just too much of it unseen, however it does appear to be an orb weaver of some sort.  Looking at all the pictures of the types of spiders out there in Wisconsin made me feel slightly better about this encounter..and slightly worse.

Hoary Alyssum and Sulphur Cinquefoil

Back on the Sunset Trail the heat was building, and the flowers and the insects were loving it.

Strange to be sharing these mid-summer photos when fall is now upon us here in the Midwest.  A few trees are starting to turn, the winds are back and the temperatures are dropping to where I like them best.

Common St. John's Wort?

I finished reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed last night, and it was very good.  More about the emotional journey than the trail.  I could relate to letting the rigors of the trail sweep your troubles away.  It made me a little sad that I probably won't get to start my adventure on the Ice Age Trail here in Wisconsin this year.  Now with my new tent I've got everything I need to spend a couple of nights on a long section of trail, but I'm running out of good weather.  October would be perfect to do something like that, but we're heading south soon and that's going to be nice too.  You can't be everywhere and do everything.  The Ice Age Trail will be there in the spring, and I have a long winter to plan out the details of which section I want to do first and how far I want to try to go.  Do I start at the beginning at Interstate State Park or do I skip to the Chippewa Moraine State Recreation area?  Anybody up to meeting me and coming along for a few nights in the spring before mosquito season begins?

Goat's Beard gone to seed

One more post to finish up the pictures from the summer hike at Governor Thompson.  Halfway down the Sunset Trail I found a lichen oasis.  Can't wait to see what surprises Sharon and I find at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore later this week!


  1. We went for a walk in a wood when we were in Scotland, on getting back to the caravan we found our little dog covered in Ticks, he still had a couple when got home. Horrable things.

  2. Looks like a very nice hike in spite of the ticks and spiders. Having lived all my life in tickland I'm pretty used to them so I just make sure I've removed them all when I return home and send them to their ticky deaths. Really looking forward to your hikes with Sharon. Indiana Dunes is on my list and has been for some time. It just never seems to end up in my path going east or west. I think it's because of how far out I go to avoid Chicago. :-)