Little Rock Lake, Watab, Minnesota—June 2016 45° 42’ 19”N 94° 10’ 35.12”W Elevation 1,040 feet

The ground is soft under this cairn, poised in a bog off Hemlock Road NW near the bridge over Little Rock Lake. The street name is misleading. Bogs are not poisonous, as is hemlock, but they do have brackish, slightly acidic water.  Bogs have many names and an important ecological function. Wikipedia explains that a bog is “a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum moss. It is one of the four main types of wetlands. Other names for bogs include mire, quagmire, and muskeg; alkaline mires are called fens.”  Though they may not be appreciated, the gradual accumulation of decayed plant material in a bog stores carbon indefinitely, which is helpful to the climate.