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Just look at that view! From here, especially during the leaf-off period from late fall to early spring, you can see a landscape of mountains and even Echo Lake itself. Look for Hogback Mountain to the south-east, and the point of Little Presque Isle to the east, with Lake Superior’s wide expanse dominating the northeastern horizon. Trees blanket the surrounding slopes and valleys, many of them green year-round, even when dusted with snow. But up here, where the wind blows cold and fierce in the winter, and ice and snow pummel the exposed ground, life is tough even for the hardiest of trees and plants. In these harsh conditions, trees are often stunted, like much of the red oak that grows here. You may also spot trees that have been twisted and sculpted by the wind and the rain. These are sometimes called krummholz, a German word that means “crooked wood.” Another characteristic feature of this habitat is the outcroppings of “bald”, or exposed, granite rock like those that can be seen to the south especially during the leaf-off period. Similar examples of this “northern bald” habitat can be found all along the coastline and up to the northeastern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. If you have the opportunity to visit The Nature Conservancy’s Mary Macdonald Preserve at Horseshoe Harbor and Helmut & Candis Stern Preserve at Mount Baldy up near Copper Harbor, about a 3-hour drive from Marquette, they are well worth the trip! You have now come to the end of this tour. Retrace your steps back along the trail to return to the parking lot. Thank you for joining The Nature Conservancy on this visit to the Echo Lake Nature Preserve! If you’ve enjoyed this audio tour, other tours of select preserves are available at www.nature.org/miexplore. We hope you will join us again soon.
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