Echo Island, Lake Kabetogama Voyageurs National Park
mallard feeding at shore
Echo Island is tucked just several hundred yards off shore in the southwestern corner of Lake Kabetogama. Facing away from the resorts and private camps that line the lake edge, the island sits like a shy child caught in the midst of a party—its tree-lined shoulder turned inward, protecting on the other side a small rocky bay. Set ablaze by the late September sun, its evergreen shore warms to gold. The small island barely visible beyond misted morning water, by evening, has found itself in the spotlight.
Echo Island, afternoon sun
Taking a direct path from the sand beach just beyond our cabin’s doorstep across this narrow band of water, skirting the gilt edge of Echo Island, we found the rocky bay, entered and pulled the canoe up onto a sequestered 20-ft beach.
Butter and Eggs, Linaria vulgaris
Once privately owned, as was the case with many islands which over the years have become part of Voyageurs National Park, remnants of its previous life remain. From within a tumbled pile of what must have been, years ago, a meticulously built rock wall entry, a mink watches our slow progression onto land, and then disappears into the depths of the woods. There is a park campsite here, complete with one-seater and bear-locker, available to anyone at any time.
American Red Squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
On this day we find it empty, inhabited only by a most irritated red squirrel whose duties of the collection and disposal of pine cones evidently our mere presence has interrupted. In the change of ownership, this small resident has risen in stature.
Red Pine with lichen-covered bark
Dense and damp within, the woods of Echo Island, aside from birdsong, are silent. A heavy blanket of needles from towering red and white pine carpets the ground. Soft and fertile beneath it, a bed of dark organic matter has formed on top of the sandy base.
moss and lichen
Cushions of moss run over every rock and envelope every fallen form. Into it reach the roots of delicate wildflowers. Lichens cover bark and branch.
Pink Corydalis, Corydalis sempervirens
Nose to the ground in this well-appointed space, I can see Pixie Cups and Fairy Thimbles, Witches’ Beard above me, and British soldiers below-- named for the shapes they resemble, to be sure.
And perhaps for the enchantment left by time spent in the places where one might find them. For I thought I caught a glimpse of something magical there.
Winning image for the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp competition!
The 2012 OWLStamp will be available for sale March 1, 2012 through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website and nature organizations across the state. Proceeds of the OWLStamp benefit wildlife conservation, research & education projects within the state of Ohio! I'm thrilled to have provided the winning image for such a wonderful program!
The Adventures of Red Canoe
Come along in Red Canoe as she explores the quiet backwater of Ohio's State Parks and the scenic streams and rivers of the Midwest. Discover the beauty hidden beyond the water's edge, quietly waiting, past access points, often only inches deep!
Grabbing every minute I can find to be outside--walking in it, sleeping in it ... breathing it in. The natural world has so much beauty to uncover.
It is my hope that by capturing my experiences with nature and by sharing the richness it adds to an ordinary life, others may discover the greatest gift waiting just outside their door.
A regularly appearing feature, "Have you seen..." takes a closer, more patient look at things usually not seen in a flattering light.Take a look!
The Sweetness of Spring
Each spring, as winter lessens its grip and days warm with the first fragrant breezes of a new season, we collect sap from our Sugar Maples and produce just enough syrup for ourselves for the coming year. The progress of this year's backyard endeavor is illustrated here.
A Bird's Life
Summer 2008, the tiny jewel of the avian world, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, nested just feet from my front door. Pictures of her nest and the changing lives within are collected in thisjournal.From life the size of a pea....