Aman Park

November 12, 2020

Park #1, Aman Park, 01895 Lake Michigan Drive NW, Grand Rapids,49504 (6 miles west of city boundary)

  Aman Park has 6.4 miles of hiking trails and 339 acres of woods, Sand Creek, foot bridges, ridges and the valley cut by the creek.  I have walked there in early spring when the forest floor is covered with white trilliums and in the summer under the green canopy of the forest and in the fall when the leaves present their beautiful gold and yellow colors. Winter is a special time for cross country skiers in Aman park as well. 

The park sits outside the city boundary and west of Standale on M45 on the way to Allendale and Grand Valley University. Adjacent to the park is Indian Trails Camp, a camp for children with disabilities. I was familiar with this camp for many years, as my brother Rich, who is blind, spent a summer there as a camper and had a great experience (era 1960?)

So on November 12, 2020, I officially started my quest to visit as many of the Grand Rapids City parks as possible in the next 12 months.  Scott and I drove out to Aman on this beautiful fall day, leaving Covid and the election behind us, to partake of nature in this beautiful setting.  Parking in the lot near the entrance, we took the trail along the east ridge until it led down a steep path into the valley cut by Sand Creek. Trees were bare and the forest floor and paths littered with leaves- mostly oak, maple and hickory. The path progresses along the creek with many small  rapids, and 2 bridges which we crossed.  There were a few markers noting exceptional wildflowers, -one for hepatica, a favorite of mine to find because of its scarcity.  The tri-lobed leaves, named after the 3 lobes of the liver, (anatomy 101) were easy to find although now a rusty brown color. Come back in the spring to find the delicate blue flowers of the hepatica.  

This park never disappoints me. I will be back for many more hikes in the future.

Huff Park

Hike #3, Huff Park, 2399 Ball Ave. NE, Grand Rapids 49505

November 18, 2020

Huff Park has 2 entrances: on the east side, an athletic field parking lot which access the 6 ball diamonds (4 full size and 2 for little leaguers) and on the north, the Aberdeen parking lot  accessing the modern playground.  From both parking lots you can reach the hiking trail which encircles the very large wetland.  The trail has both boardwalk and gravel paths.  There is access to the middle of the marshland with a viewing platform.  The marsh is covered with tall grasses and cattails-we tried to find the sedges-reminded of the ditty “sedges have edges and rushes are round, grasses have nodes from their tips to the ground.”

Well, we tried. 

We took a grassy path off the main route, into a wooded area and towards the marsh.  There we came across a large multi-antlered buck and 2 does who bounded away from us. 

This was a great multi-use park with a good walking path, a little less than 1 mile around the wetlands.  The wildlife was a bonus. 

Highlights: boardwalk and marshland, deer if you are lucky!