Trees, Flowers & Wildlife

There's 1.5 miles of trails in the woods behind the lodge. Each has its own personality and traits. This page is intended to show you not only all the natural beauty, but the different natural benefits from being in the woods as well. Be sure to read our page about Forest Bathing to see what doctors, government studies, and more have discovered. 

This page will lead you down the trails and point out the medicinal values found in the woods, both today and from ages ago. Oxygen is nature's antibiotic, and the trees produce a lot of oxygen every minute of every day. 

Plus, the forest contains long-lost secrets, some as simple as just sitting among the flowers, trees, and natural scents, and all you have to do is be there.

Pine Trace runs right off the side of the back yard. It's only 100 yards long (or less), and is an easy to get to spot to just sit in the woods and breathe the air. We don't see owls very often, but when we do we've seen them in this area more than others. I'm guessing they have nests here. 

 A herd of approximately 200 turkeys live aournd Acorn Lodge. This short "turkey parade" video shows the last section of about five minutes of them going by in the woods. Click the link.  

A peaceful bench sits close to the lodge on Pine Trace. 

From the Pine Trace benches you can see the cottonwood trees in our forest towering above everything else. 

The cottonwood trees cover the trail with their little flowers known as "cottonwood puff." This puff is actually a powerful anti-microbial, that was used by the Indian tribes as an anti-fungal and arthritis soothing medicine. A white pine, growing among the cottonwoods, was snapped off by a rare tornado. 

Benches are spread out along the 1.5 miles of trails. 

A Walk Down the Trails...

Pine trees purify the air around us. Even their scent is helpful in reducing inflammation for people with asthma or allergies. 

A forest has all kinds of trees and they all emit different benefits to life in the woods, including humans of course. The woods is an incubator of health.  

The Indian Mound is, as local historians have related to us, a glacier formation that later became an Indian burial mound. We've placed a few benches at the top for quiet solitude and, perhaps, reminiscing back into the 1700s when this area was all Indian encampments.

A quiet bench provides for solitude and forest bathing. 

Chairs face the opposite direction, providing a totally difaferent view.

An occasional deer visits the mound.

Shortly after leaving Indian Mound you'll come to the Log Bridge. The 110' bridge was built to go across a seasonal river (usually in the spring), and is home to all kinds of wildlife. The trick to seeing them is to remain quiet. "Shhh...!"

A muskrat cruises by the bridge. Look carefully at the middle picture to see the snapping turtle in full camouflage. When this bad boy is in the water, everything else leaves. Mallard ducks love the privacy afforded back in the woods, so are a common sight. 

A muskrat floats past log bridge.

A solitary snapping turtle moves slowly through the water. 

A mallard pair stop by to rest. They also build nests back here. 

The log bridge sits along the edge of an arboreal swamp, caused by a slow moving seasonal creek.

A rare whirlpool appears when a lot of water is passing through the culverts underneath. 

Chairs sit along the bridge. This is a good place to forest bathe and check out wildlife.

Flowers Along the Trails

Flowers, grasses, trees, pine needles, and literally everything in the woods emit auto-immune building qualities. Some of these, like the mushrooms, protect and nurture the roots of trees, making sure they stay healthy to provide for oxygen. 

The amazingly beautiful Michigan lily can always be found near the log bridge June through August. Michigan Lily is found in higher quality natural areas. 

Toadstools are recyclers. They attach themselves to plants roots and physically feed the plant with the nutrients they have made. 

The powerful skunk cabbage actually pushes its way up through the snow to become the first arriver in the spring.  Its deep roots stabilize swamps to prevent erosion. 

The Tree House is the next stop down the trail following the log bridge. 

The tree house is an excellent place for wildlife viewing. The deer herd wanders through here quite regularly, often passing directly underneath us. They have big ears. Keep quiet if you want to see these guys. 

The Tree House is a rebuilt old hunting blind from years past. We reinforced it, built the stairs, added new windows, and more.

It's nice and comfy up here with a little heater.

It's quite easy to spend an hour or more enjoying nature up here. Open the windows for more forest bathing. 

The log signs are made on site from fallen trees on the property. 

A solitary deer wanders below the Tree House. Her natural camouflage blends her into the colors and features of the forest quite well. The trick to seeing these guys is to sit in the Tree House with your coffee and remain silent. It's a real thrill to see this kind of stuff. 

We  have a turkey herd.

Turkey Parade.mp4

This video, taken in haste, shows the end of a herd of approximately 200 turkeys leaving the area of the lodge. 

A group of turkeys came by the Tree House today. They are raking around among the leaves for grubs and such. These guys are extremely colorful, as they talk to each other, fly up into the trees, and constantly munch their way across the forest floor. They are also marked Safe from Thanksgiving because Acorn Loge is a sanctuary for them and all wildlife. We get the feeling they know this somehow. 

Turkeys in Woods.MOV

The River House

The River House is a favourite hangout for everyone. Bring your coffee and goodies for an extended stay. 

Rather than pull a  tree stump from the ground, it becomes a table. 

Twin benches make for beautiful viewing. 

You might even see an eagle come soaring overhead. 

Or occasional riders from a neighboring horse farm. 

From the River House interior you can sometimes see fish or turtles swimming by. 

Or just stand on the banks and behold the power of moving water.

Damselflies & Dragonflies: 

These guys are natural indicators of pure water. 

Damselflies and dragonflies are abundant along the river. Yes, they'll land on you. 

The damselfly has two wings pointed backwards.

It's cousin, the dragonfly, has four wings pointed outwards, and are a miracle of flight in nature. 

An American bittern stalks the reeds. 

The deer cross the river near the River House

Belted kingfishers are seen along the river. These spectacular birds were actually used as design models for Japanese high speed trains because the birds can hit the water at high speed going after fish and hardly leave a ripple. The Japanese used this design to help their trains slip through the air more efficiently.  

The Canoe & Kayak people have told us that Acorn Lodge has become a landmark along the river. When they round the bend and see the River House, they know they're only 45 minutes from their landing site downstream.   

The Acorn Lodge sign has become a landmark.

A kayaker is treating his floppy eared dog to a trip down the river. He barked "hello" to us. 

Shortly after the River House went up in 2019, we overheard a ladies' voice as the canoes came around the bend:

Her: "Charles, what's that?"

Charles: "That's Acorn Lodge."

The word has gotten out. 

Relax here. 


The Green Bridge Sitting Area 

The Green Bridge Sitting Area is located (you guessed it) at an old green bridge which spans a small water route. It appears that farmers may have dug this ditch 100 years ago, but nobody knows. The rustic bridge to get across is of later origin. 

This solitary spot of forest bathing is as good as it gets. 

The Flowers of Green Bridge and the Woods

 Little flowers are more important than you think

The endangered yellow trout lily is an important pollen and food source for many types of insects such as bees, butterflies, flies, and ants. The Ottawa tribe also used them for medicinal purposes, especially as an anti-fungal and cold medicine.  

Yellow violets not only smell good, they also attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. They were also used by the Indian tribes for medicinal healing purposes. Women in the 1800s chewed them for breath mints. 

 Wild geraniums are known as a "super pollinator," extending far into spring after the others are gone. Again, the Ottawa and Ojibwa Indian tribes used these for medicinal purposes. 

 Beach Tree Rest

 The Beach Tree Rest is in the middle of a beach tree grove. From this vantage point we have actually seen fish swimming halfway out of the water along the far side and snatching food off the banks. We don't know what they were snatching. Grasses? Bugs? They were too small for us to see. But there's much more here. 

The sign on the tree contains an old Scottish both farewell and welcome back:

"Where the tree frog's haunting sound,

Where the seasons change year 'round,  

Where the river 'rounds the bend, 

Will ye no come back again? 

 The grey trunks and yellow leaves are beech trees.

 Young trees sprout from the roots of this matriarch tree. 

 These younger trees will some day rule the forest. 

You're Sitting On Top of a Medicine Chest

Bloodroot, a plant native to North America with telltale reddish roots, has long been used in traditional medicine for its alleged anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. 

The Bottle Gentian has no fragrance, yet is one of the most powerful antioxidants among the flowers. It had many other medicinal uses among the tribes, especially the Ojibwa and Ottawa. 

The cardinal flower provides a source of nectar to hummingbird pollinators and to spicebush swallowtails. And yes, it was used by the tribes for medicinal purposes, too. 

Here is a not-so-well-known fact: Lichen is a natural air quality indicator. If you see this you are in the purest air there is. 

The Russula Fungus is one of many fungus species that help nourish forest trees through symbiosis. The netlike fibers of the fungus cover the surface of a tree's roots, increasing the surface area and the roots' ability to absorb water and nutrients. In return, the tree shares nutrients with the fungus. These are prevalent throughout the forest here. 

Lactarius resimus mushrooms possess antioxidant qualities. Like the Russula Fungus, they also help protect the root systems of trees.

 Ojibwa Bitters was a common medicine from the 1800s - 1950s. The Ojibwa used the bottle gentian plant and others as balms. 

(The author of this website remembers taking spoonfulls of Ojibwa Bitters as a young child).

About 100 yards downstream from the River House, the River Rest area provides a picnic table and cold water for canoe and kayak people. Many salute the flag as they go by.  

Bring your lunch. 

On hot days a sign welcomes weary canoe and kayak people who have paddled 1.5 hours to take a break. Our "rescue stump" in the background arrived here following a flood. We chained it down and gave it a home.  

 Birds Around You

When pileated woodpeckers drill holes in dead trees looking for bugs they sound like little machine guns. The huge hole they make become homes for woods creatures.  

We have ospreys up and down the river. These have been known to hit a school of fish and come up with one on each talon, both feet.

 A relaxed looking loon cruises by, but that doesn't fool the fish. They clear out when these guys show up. 

Loons have been known to dive over 250' deep. 

Further Down the Trail...

This ancient oak tree is said to be over 350 years old. Previous guests tell us they had their business meetings right here. 

This tree probably sprouted from an acorn in the 1670s. You're looking at a history book. 

 The Red Chairs Sitting Area

Two Red Chairs sites are close together. These are between the end of the arboreal swamp and the neighboring horse farm. The Red Chairs are in a remote area of the lodge property. 

You might see the deer walk right out in front of you here. They like to be on forest edges where they can munch grass and also escape into the woods when need be. 

The Arrowhead Path Sits Along Our Arboreal Swamp

A restful bench faces the swamp. 

This peaceful location provides bird and duck watching.

Welcome to the Swamps. Most People Have No Idea What They Do.

Wetlands provide critical wildlife habitat, prevent shoreline erosion, protect water quality, and in general clean the entire system of nature. 

Sometimes the swamp is a reflection pond. 

This is home to all kinds of frogs, muskrats, turtles and more. 

Cattails Get Special Mention

Cattails are one of nature's filter systems. Found in lowlands, along rivers, and in swamps, they suck up pollutants from the water, turn them into fluff, and let them blow harmlessly away. 

A cluster of cattails should now appear to you the same way a tightly woven water filter does. Yes, nature thought of it first. 

They also have tremendous health benefits. As you'll see, these were used by the Indian tribes long before words like "antiseptic" or "atherosclerosis" were even invented. 

The Indian tribes used cattails for treating burns, sores, indigestion, and other internal problems. 

As you see, you're sitting in nature's hospital waiting room. 

Furry Friends

 An opossum might wander by. These creatures eat all kinds of insects and bugs to help keep the forest healthy.  

 The raccoons are usually secretive, but this one was chasing after stuff in the water and ignored us. 

The War Against Squirrels


Squirrels are cute and intelligent, but they can be very destructive to a dwelling as well as other things such as bird feeders. We actually put up spinning bird feeders to allow the birds to feast in peace. (Behold the video on left). Squirrels belong in the woods. One day an answer came, and it came from the woods itself. 

A fox. 

Our resident red fox has eyes like an eagle and a nose like a German shepherd. 

Nature has provided for enforcers to make sure certain species don't make the place unlivable for others. This is an extremely fragile balance of nature.

Squirrel types at Acorn Lodge: Red, Black, Ground, Grey, Fox, California, Chipmunk.

We had hundreds of squirrels wiping out our bird feeders for years. Then this guy on the left showed up. Now we have zero squirrels. That's life in the fast lane of nature. 

But you can still see all these types of squirrels out in the woods.

And not so furry friends

A land roving painted turtle shows up. "What'cha got for lunch?" he asks. 

A leopard frog bounces in front of us. Once he realized we were there, he bounced away from us. 

A beautiful sunset comes to the river. 

The hooty owl will let you know it's time to head back to the lodge. 

Fireflies won't hold still for the camera, but there just might be enough of them to lead you back to the lodge. 

We hope you enjoyed your trip. 

You can find our calendar of dates available and book Acorn Lodge on either the "Contact Us" or "Book Acorn Lodge" pages.

Thank you for reading! Please enjoy the other pages about Acorn Lodge.