Rydell National Wildlife Refuge Fall Hike

I recently made a stop at the Rydell National Wildlife Refuge  (located in northwestern MN just off Hwy 2-about halfway between Bemidji, MN and Grand Forks, N.D.)  Woodlands, tall grass prairie, and bogs provide habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. Birds and waterfowl enjoy the lakes and ponds within the refuge. Seven miles of trails provide great hiking and the opportunity for wildlife observation and photography.

pond with ducks

Golden Pond with Sunset Lake in background

We chose to hike the 1.5 mile Golden Pond Trail. This trail starts at the visitor center, wanders around Golden Pond and then takes you into hardwood forrest and through restored prairie. The visitor center has a large viewing deck overlooking Golden Pond (full of ducks and a family of trumpeter swans) with Sunset Lake in the background, as seen in the above photo. Below is a photo of the viewing deck shot from the other side of the pond.

viewing platform at wildlife refuge

Viewing Platform

As the trail leaves Golden Pond you begin to wander under a canopy of hardwoods.

path through trees

Golden Pond Trail

“This place is getting rather seedy.” I didn’t expect to see a lot of wildflowers blooming at this time of year, but did find a few. I also got an interesting view into the life cycle of plants, and how they assure that they are going to be back next year. Regrettably, several of the species below are non-native plants considered invasive (Queen Anne’s Lace, Bull Thistle, Chicory) and tend to take over an area once established. While pretty, they are not desirable to have around.

milkweed seedpod and leaves

Milkweed

dried up wildflower

Grey-headed Coneflower

wild cucumber leaf & seedpod

Wild Cucumber

cone shaped seedpod

What is this??

pink wildflower seedpod

Bull Thistle

White wildflower and seedpod

Queen Anne’s Lace

blue chicory wildflower

Chicory

For more information on this wonderful gem, please check out their website Rydell National Wildlife Refuge.

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~ by Pinetree Photo Nature Discovery on September 27, 2014.

4 Responses to “Rydell National Wildlife Refuge Fall Hike”

  1. Often, it’s the invasive which are are some of the prettiest. Really like the lighting on the bull thistle photo.

  2. Don’t you just love hiking in the wild lands. Great close-up photos.

  3. Nice picture of the Chicory. Let’s go there next summer!

  4. I really like your macro photography.

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