Created at the end of the last ice age, Pinhook Bog is a kettle shaped depression lined with clay made by the advancing glacier. The depression filled with water and the clay prevented it from soaking into the soil.
Over time, sphagnum moss took hold and began to make the water acidic, and unsuitable for most plants. Now, only certain plants thrive here, many normally found farther north, are not seen anywhere else in Indiana.
The moss continues to spread today, and is several feet thick in places. It floats on water up to 60 feet deep, and can support shrubs and some trees such as Tamarack. The moss also helps keep the area more humid than the surroundings by holding a remarkable amount of water. It was actually used by the Native Americans for many things including diapers.
Here, a park ranger squeezes the water out of a handful of moss.It took three squeezes to get the majority of the water out.
Among many other interesting species in Pinhook Bog are the carnivorous plants. One in particular is the Pitcher Plant.
This plant attracts insects into it's "pitcher" filled with water. Once the insect drops in, small hairs pointing downward on the plant prevent the insect from escaping. It is then dissolved and ingested by the plant. These plants require nitrogen and minerals, and since a bog is not a good source of nitrogen, it gets it's nutrients from insects.
Looking into the plant, you can see some insects trapped inside.
Pinhook Bog is an interesting place to explore. It's only open on select weekends, and tours are guided by park rangers.