Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Masse Homestead (Log Slide) Trail and Dune Hike -- Post 1

On Sunday I took the time to finally go on a more substantial hike. With the busy summer, my exercise program has certainly taken a nose dive. It was a great day for a hike, though, with temperatures in the mid 60s and a refreshing breeze off Lake Superior. I parked in the pull-off on H58, located half way between Sable Lake and the Log Slide and headed northwest on the trail. Although we have not had much rain recently, the forest seemed quite content.

I came across this downed tree with a colony of shelf fungi.

Or are these "tree agates?"

I also spotted this burl on a tree.  A burl or burr is a tree growth in which the wood grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is commonly found in the form of a rounded outgrowth on a tree trunk or branch that is filled with small knots from dormant buds.  A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress caused by an injury, virus or fungus.  Most burls grow beneath the ground, attached to the roots as a type of malignancy.  Almost all burl wood is covered by bark, even if it is underground. Insect and mold infestations are the most common causes of this condition.

In some tree species, burls can grow to great size. The largest, at 26 feet (7.9 m) occur in Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and can encircle the entire trunk.  When moisture is present, these burls can grow new redwood trees. The world's second-largest burls can be found in Port McNeill, British Columbia. One of the largest burls known was found around 1984 in the small town of Tamworth, New South Wales. It stands 6.4 ft (2.0 m) tall, with an odd shape resembling a trombone. Burls yield a very peculiar and highly figured wood, prized for its beauty and sought after by furniture makers, artists, and wood sculptors.

After around a 40 minute walk, I reached the Masse Homestead rustic campground and headed into the Grand Sable Dunes from there.

Soon after entering the dunes, I came across yet another telegraph pole left over from more than 100 years ago.

As I was walking north to the bluff over looking Lake Superior, I crested a dune and was rewarded with this great view of Au Sable Lighthouse.

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