Johnson Hill Kame contains northern and southern dry-mesic forests on the slopes of a conical moulin kame deposited during the last glaciation of Wisconsin. Parking here is the very narrow roadside along Shamrock Road. Walk across the agricultural field to a tree line, an area which can be quite wet with ephemeral ponds and quite thick with various shrubs. Once through this area, you have arrived at the base of the hill/kame. This site one of 11 SNA’s that are part of the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, which is one of the best places to see moulin kames in the entire United States.
Kames are sandy, gravelly hills deposited by glacial waters during the retreat of the glacier. Regular kames were formed as debris settled in glacial ponds and as a result generally have irregular shapes. A moulin (French for “mill”) kame forms when glacial streams carry debris through cylindrical holes in the glacier and deposit it at the bottom. The resulting conical mound remains as the glacier melts. During this early May visit, spring ephemerals were in full force. Large-flowered trillium, large-flowered bellwort, violets, spring beauty, wood anemone, wild geranium, and mayapples were plentiful, particularly on the southern and eastern slopes. As I crested the kame, I saw what appeared to be remnants of a long ago abandoned ski or sledding run. Tall poles, cables, and a clearing down the northern slope were suggestive of this. After exploring the slopes for a while, I made my way back toward the road and was fortunate to see two sandhill cranes take graceful flight from the field near the kame. All in all, a nice start to a nice day.
More of my photos (and full-res) from Johnson Hill Kame can be viewed here.
|Natural Communities / Geology
||Moulin Kame, Northern Dry-Mesic Forest, Southern Dry-Mesic Forest|
|Parking||Parking Areas (several)|
|Easy to Find||Yes|
|Best Seen By||Foot/Kayak|
|Located Within||Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit|