Saturday, April 7, 2012

Walking and wildflowers - Three walks in two local preserves

Today was another sunny day in the 50s, so I got out for a couple of local walks in search of more early wildflowers.  My first stop was the Wolf Creek Falls Preserve, between Altamont and Knox.  It's a fairly new preserve with lots of wooded trails and a couple of streams with small colorful mossy cascades.

This preserve is also the home of countless stone walls, zigzagging through the woods marking long obsolete property lines.

But alas, I saw not even one wildflower in bloom on my entire 3-mile route, aside from some colt's foot along the side of the road near the parking area.

So it was off to preserve #2, the Limestone Rise Preserve, just a few miles up the road.  The notable feature here is the maze of limestone crevasses, big enough to swallow a leg if you venture off-trail.

I remember once long ago being overwhelmed by the profusion of white trillium in bloom here, but today I was too early for that.  But the hepatica was everywhere, in shades ranging from pure white to deep lavender.  This was the best collection of the year so far.

Although the white trillium is still a few weeks away, there were a couple of red trillium either in bud or fighting to get opened up.  Not sure that second one is actually a trillium - doesn't quite look right, especially the stems.  Guesses welcome.  It was growing in a fairly wet area.

And last but not least, spring beauty.  There was a lot of this mixed in with the hepatica, in various shades of pink.

The loop at Limestone Rise is only 1.3 miles, but it took me a while because of all the photo opportunities.  As I was getting close to the car on the return, I passed this set of keys hanging in a tree.

An omen?
I'd noticed them on my way in earlier and wondered then what kind of idiot would lose a set of keys in a place like this.  Then I reached in my pocket for my own, and my question was answered.  No keys.  2-3 more searches of all pockets - no keys.   Damn.  They must have fallen out of my unzipped jacket pocket when I was down on the ground getting some of the eye-level shots above.  But where?  In a crevasse?  Would I ever see them again?  Though I had spares in my wallet, the only reasonable thing to do was to walk that 1.3 mile loop again and hope they made themselves obvious somewhere.  It would be an exercise in close observation of the forest floor.  Most of the way around the loop, I was losing hope, and then, there they were, right by a nice clump of hepatica I'd gotten down on my belly to photograph.  Phew!  What kind of idiot, indeed!

No comments:

Post a Comment