Monday, July 19, 2010

In The Pits - Exploring Close To Home

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?


Kar said...

Love that area! We have gone hiking in that area a few times when we have come back to visit family. It's so neat out there.

Unknown said...

How interesting...those rocks are beautiful!

Brittany | the Home Ground said...

What an awesome place! Those rocks are beautiful, I wish I found ones like that around here. Sometimes the best vacations are those that are close to home. Nice to see your boys :)

Linz said... truly is amazing when you do discover a whole different universe, contained in the little things, in your backyard. however...caterpillars and the like...*shiver* auuugh!

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Kar - I can't believe I had never been there! I really can't wait to go back and explore.

Roseanna - thanks! My hands were orange from rust after picking them up.

Britt - it was great to find this place. There are so many places up here that I haven't been.

Linz - that's exactly how it felt, another universe. The landscape was comprised of all of these orange dirt, all rocks. It was almost surreal.

Mel said...

Wow. i can't help picking up rocks where ever I go, and yours are very interesting. I love finding lovely places to visit close to home. I've never seen the prickly gooseberries, they are amazing. Of course I love the monarchs too. This is the first year in a while I haven't had the caterpillars in my yard. It is amazing how quickly nature reclaims the land we clear. Thanks for sharing your road trip with us.
Today I discovered a rookery about an hour from my house, filled with nesting egrets, heron and who knows what kind of birds. I loved watching the full sized babies crying for fish from the parents. They looked ready to fly any minute.

Tiffany said...

So beautiful! I love the rocks, they look amazing.


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