Conboy Lake Wildlife Refuge is located east of Trout Lake. Peter Conboy filed a land claim in 1872It is a mix of wetlands, grassy prairies, streams, and oak, pine, and aspen forest. We walked the 3.8 mile loop to the trail’s end at Willard Springs. Near the trailhead is an old homestead cabin of Whitcomb-Cole family. You can still see some of the newspapers that they pasted on the walls to help insulate. The lake looks more like a grassy plain, which is what it turns into in the summer.
The trail starts on a graveled road and looks like it will head straight across the marshy lake basin. It soon turns left to parallel a small stream. In a short distance it will turn into the woods to follow along the lake. The trail is easy to follow and well signed. We could hear flickers pecking the trees, but no easy sightings.
We spotted a young buck hiding in the undergrowth. He bounded away from us earlier.
About 1.2 miles into the trail you will arrive at the observation deck. We came just in time to see a herd of about 20-25 elk moving to the left out of our view.
We were surprised by a strange beetle on the deck. I looked it up later and found that it is an Eyed Click Beetle. Eyed because of the big fake eyes to warn off predators. Click because it makes a clicking noise when threatened. We did hear the click. Click on photo for better view. No pun intended....
We continued to the end of the trail at Willard Springs. There is no obvious spring but there are marshy areas nearby.
On the way back you can take a short cut trail that is wider and leads through a more open part of the woods.
The temperature was perfect at about high 60s. I want to come back here in the spring when the lake has more water and there are more water fowl.
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