Walkabout the Arboretum

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Exploration Badge
Part of the SummerGame2016 Game

The U of M’s Nichols Arboretum is a true town treasure and during this week’s Arbor Explorer adventure you'll find one of the richest landscapes in the region, as well as a complex glacial topography that presents vast panoramas, broad valleys and intimate dales and glens. You may want to print out this map before heading out http://www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg/files/ArbGuide.pdf The official posted hours for the Arboretum are 6:00AM to 10:00PM. This walk is going to involve steep paths and is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. Good walking shoes are recommended.

We first visited the Arb in summer 2013 with a badge that started at the Geddes entrance. This time around we’re going to start at the Washington Heights entrance - where the signage says “Nichols Arboretum Reader Center” - this is also casually known as the “peony field” entrance. The Visitor Center is on the lower level of Reader Center building and includes restrooms, maps and information, as well as a small shop with snack, beverages and gifts. The building is staffed seasonally mid-March through November.

Parking is a little tricky at this entrance and paying attention to the copious signage near the variety of parking lots is important. If you visit during weekdays before 5PM you will have to park at the hospital parking lots and walk a little ways. There is a bus stop right at the entrance on Washington Heights so public transportation is a great option. Free parking can be had after 5PM Monday - Friday, and on weekends in the Washington Heights University LOT-M28 that is marked permit required before 5PM on weekdays.

Let’s get started! Start walking on the white gravel walkway towards the Peony beds. Before you actually get to the peony beds look for the woodchip path up on the right marked with a large rock labeled “Laurel Ridge Trail.” Your first gamecode is the middle name of the person whose collection the trail is named for.

This trail is a gorgeous spot in the spring blooming with wildly colorful, and beautiful selections of azalea and rhododendrons. These plants thrive here because of the acidic soil provided by the old pine stand and their location on a northerly slope, which offers protection from winter sunburn. Keep walking the trail until you come to a small stand of pine trees with a bench visible on your left (you will be looking at the back of the bench) - you will know you’re in the correct spot if you see “Haughty Pink” rhododendrons nearby. Walk around the front of the bench and locate the memorial plaque. Your next gamecode is the last name of the person memorialized.

Finish out the trail until you meet up with the white gravel main path past the peony beds. Join the main path (turning right off the woodchip path) and keep walking past Fairy Woods & Troll Hollow on your right. Plan on taking the steep path down the hill towards #7 on the map / Riverfront Landing. There is a posted map near the top of the path as well. You will be up high and the river will be on your left. Depending on the day of the week you will likely hear people on the river before you see them. It’s about .2 miles down to the river. Once you get to the bottom of the path wander over to the river and enjoy the people, nature and river watching - it’s one of the best spots in town! Look for the two permanent signs near each other to your right by the river. Locate the one titled “How it Happened.” Look for the section on the right where you see the word “wattling” - your next gamecode is the other word listed before “or.”

Keep walking a little more along the river to the right until you see another sign labeled “The Huron River Watershed.” Your next gamecode is the name of the aquatic insect whose larva was found in the Huron River and indicates that parts of the Huron River are in very good condition.

Now we’re going to turn around from this sign and walk back into the Arb using the white gravel path you see. Travel along the path for a little ways until you come to the point where a woodchip path forks off the white gravel path to the right. Make the right turn and you will see a bench and the boardwalks up ahead. Soon after you get to the boardwalk look for the large, craggy and notable tree to your left. Keep going until you see the two posted signs on your right. Locate the one labeled “What’s in the Wetland?” Your next gamecode is the two word name for the butterfly listed on the sign. Be sure to enter them in as one word - no space.

Keep going and follow the woodchip trail until it forks - follow the woodchip trail to the right until you reach a white gravel path again. Follow the white gravel path to your left. Walk a ways until you see a low, concrete bench - you’re almost there. Turn right at the woodchip path marked with the wooden fence pieces and the large rock labeled “Heathdale.” The Heathdale trail is filled with old rhododendrons and azaleas. Keep walking until you locate the permanent “Heathdale” sign on the left. Locate the section of text in the upper right that lists which plants are featured in the collection. Your next gamecode is the 2nd to last variety listed - it sounds like an injured canine. Be sure to enter it as one word, no space and no hyphen

Keep on the path and you will pass a lovely circular bench gathering on your right (known as the council ring). Go a bit further until you see the bench in the clearing on your left. Your next gamecode is the last name of the person who the bench is memorializing.

Now we’re going to climb out of the Heathdale up the hill - when the woodchip path forks follow it to the left. This last bit will be a nice workout so be prepared to sweat a little. Follow the path all the way up and when it forks follow it right until you hit another white gravel path. Take the white gravel path right from here. Follow the gravel path up, keeping the wooden fencing to your right. When you get past the curve locate the bench on your right that has a lovely view of the valley below. Your next gamecode is the last name of the person whose first ‘poet’s walk’ is being celebrated.

Follow the path a little bit further until you see the small wood & dirt stairs to your left. Follow them up and look for the sign directly across from you (across the white gravel path and the grass) labeled “Oak Openings Garden.” Locate the quote at the bottom of the sign. Your last gamecode is the last name of the editor who the quote is attributed to.

Now you’re done with the ‘official’ part of this badge and back at the peony beds. Have fun exploring, have a picnic or just take a break before leaving this gorgeous spot!

200 SummerGame2016 point bonus when earned

This badge has been awarded to 314 players

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