Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Exploring Big Bog State Park

  • Article by: LISA MEYERS MCCLINTICK SPECIAL TO THE STAR TRIBUNE
  • Last update: July 24, 2014 - 2:53 PM

At the fire tower, we chat with John Devins, a Waconia resident and longtime Red Lake visitor with a cabin nearby. He tells us his extended family makes the long walk to see the bog several times a year. They like to catch the bog in every season. But fall is everyone’s favorite, when the tamarack turn a bright gold to contrast with the season’s sharp blue skies.

“It’s probably one of the best-kept secrets in northern Minnesota,” he says.

Exploring the bog

On the day we visit, a man has journeyed from Pittsburgh to seek a rare Connecticut warbler. He finds it, along with a LeConte’s sparrow and more. The birder wound up staying three nights in the park, Easthouse says.

More than 110 of Minnesota’s 304 bird species live in the peatland, including the great gray owl. Keen wildlife observers might also catch turtles, frogs and sandhill cranes.

When we arrive at the bog walk parking lot, horseflies swarm the minivan and hurry us past a pond where wild roses sweeten the breeze and clusters of white-striped admiral butterflies flit across the gravel path. Then we duck into a thick arch of foliage where the aluminum boardwalk begins.

It feels cool and dense, reminding us of mangrove walks in Florida. Then the landscape opens into thick stands of bog birch, dogwood and willow before thinning into a spare cover of spruce and tamarack. The drone of flies grows quieter the farther we walk.

Along the way, blueberry shrubs and cranberries intertwine with bog laurel. Fuzzy cotton grasses sway and cluster together like miniature versions of Dr. Seuss’s truffula trees. We finally reach the interpretive panels and the first signs of carnivorous plants, which adapted to eating insects to get the same nutrients other plants get from soil.

An unusual maroon flower nods above the pitcher plants, flagging their locations as we gaze across the bog. The pitcher plants have cupped leaves that discreetly emerge from mounds of moss with vivid greens and streaks of red and yellow. The cupped leaves shimmer with rainwater that lures flies and other bugs with its musty scent and then traps them with tiny hairs on the leaves.

We fail to find the wild orchids or carnivorous sundew plants on our own, but the pretty lavender rose pogonia orchids should be in bloom through International Bog Day on Saturday, when naturalists will help visitors spot the bog’s hidden treasures.

St. Cloud-based Lisa Meyers McClintick, www.10000Likes.com, writes travel features and guidebooks.

  • related content

  • Completed in 2005, this mile-long boardwalk treats visitors to close-ups of the unusual flora and wildlife at Big Bog State Recreation Area.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
NJIT 78
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close