Monday, July 14, 2014

A trip long overdue: a weekend to the Saginaw Bay region

The beach along the Saginaw Bay, complete with logs, shells and sand. 
It's been a long six months since the last post on here, and many things have come up that have prevented updates. I was unable to attend my planned trip to Tahquamenon Falls State Park as I originally planned, and I've been unable to get out at any other time. That changed this past weekend.

My wife and I were able to travel north to the Saginaw Bay region for a weekend getaway this past weekend, just to recharge and enjoy getting away. We traveled to several spots in Saginaw, Bay City, Midland and Mount Pleasant, all areas we were familiar with since we are Central Michigan University alumni, and I spent several months working in the area several years ago.

We made it a point to visit Bay City State Recreation Area, a park we've visited before, but in the fall.
The pathway along the simple, one-mile loop trail around
a lagoon and the Saginaw Bay.
They've made some changes to the park since our last visit in 2010, including a new splash park that had dozens of visitors enjoying themselves. We ventured away from the splash park and walked along the lagoon trail, a short hike around the lagoon and leading to the sandy beach on the Saginaw Bay.

The trail isn't difficult and can be done by anyone, as it is cleared with some paving. But it provides a nice insight into the nature of the area, complete with swans swimming in the lagoon, and the chirp of the bullfrogs in the cattails. 

Starting at the visitor center (a nice insight into some history and ecology of the Saginaw Bay region), the trail has various inlets to get a closer look at the lagoon and its wildlife. Seagulls, red-winged blackbirds and blue jays were just some of the birds that could be seen and heard walking along the trail, along with seagulls flying around the waterfront of Lake Huron.

The lagoon, complete with algae, swans and bullfrogs.
Venturing off the trail near the bay is an option on the trail, one that several families took that morning to swim in the bay. The beach was lined with discarded shells and a smooth tree trunk that rested on the edge of the water, one that had its bark removed by the water and polished. The sights from the beach included some industrial smokestacks in the distance, something I've always found that kind of view a bit off-putting, but it speaks to the area we were in, so it adds to the experience, I suppose.

I forgot how nice Bay City State Recreation Area is for a day adventure. The parking lot was practically empty, and there are several pavilions to host events at. The trail system offers several options, with the lagoon trail being just one. It's worth a day trip if nearby.

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