Like most people, I think of Warren Dunes State Park as a summer destination: swimming at the big beaches (with big parking lots), climbing Tower Hill to see Chicago across Lake Michigan, picnicking, or camping. So it had been a few years since I'd visited during the Spring wildflower season. On Thursday, I went to three parks in the southwest corner of the state: Grand Mere, Warren Dunes, and Warren Woods. The three are only a few miles apart and each offered a different glimpse into Michigan's Spring.
Warren Dunes was at peak wildflower time. I ate lunch in the picnic area, surrounded by hundreds of blooming Trillium. The trillium continued all along the trail to the campground and on the slopes of the wooded back dunes. As the trail turned uphill, other wildflowers came into sight: both Dicentra species (Dutchman's Breeches and Squirrel Corn), Rue Anemone, Toothwort, Violets, and a lone Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Two other plants, with less conspicuous blooms also caught my eye: Blue Cohosh with its tiny green flowers and the hairy, ground-level flowers of Wild Ginger.
Other ephemerals, like Hepatica and Bloodroot, had already bloomed and their leaves were gathering energy before the tree canopy shaded them for the summer.
This beach will be full of people in a couple of months.
I teach economics at Kalamazoo College. My wife is also an economist. We were on sabbatical in Europe for the 2014-15 academic year. (Salamanca, Spain, followed by Oxford, UK.) We were in Uruguay for the 2006-7 academic year.