One of the places we visited on our vacation was right here in our state, the iron pits in the aptly named Ironton, a mere 20 minutes from our home. Mining for iron ceased in this area years ago, leaving an area formed from by man, but reclaimed by mother nature. What started as mine pits and mounds of tailings has become an area of clear water, fauna, and flora.
We drove to the top of the "mountain" on a narrow dirt road, spitting an orange rusty cloud behind us. Even the trees had a rusty hue, and I couldn't help but wonder what the wood looked like on the inside. When we reached the top, we looked out over the lakes as an eagle flew overhead. The string of lakes is where the mines were following the vein of iron. Looking down, it was easy to forget that these were not formed by ma Nature herself. It was quite beautiful.
Of course, I had to do a little rock-picking and came home with a small group of beauties. Each looks like a landscape in and of itself. They ranged in size from these small pieces to giant boulders. Quartz dotted the rocky landscape and I even found an agate or two. The iron of course is what gives my beloved Lake Superior agates their color.
Plant-wise there were many sumacs, currants, and even prickly gooseberries. Down by the lake we saw milkweed being munched by a Monarch caterpillar. The boys dipped in the clear water and we all watched the loons. It was a fantastic day and I'm eager to go back with my good camera and field guide and spend more time.
Don't you love it when you discover something like this in your own backyard? What have you discovered lately?