Now that we are starting to really feel the spring weather, we have been going for walks almost every day. On the weekends we typically choose a local park or public trail to hike. During the week, when the kids get home from school, we hike down to the creek or to the top of the hill and explore the woods behind our house. Now that the kids are older, i can take them farther into the woods to explore new areas.
Down on the banks of the creek the Mayapples are popping up everywhere. i was on the lookout for dried milkweed pods and morel mushrooms, but didn't find any this time.
The flower of the mayapple is hidden under the umbrella shaped leaves. They don't all have flowers, and we have fun peeking under each one to see there is a flower.
On Monday we walked to the bottom of the hill, and followed the creek through the tree field. The creek winds around through the woods, and onto our property. i was super excited to come across a huge patch of huckleberries (wild blueberries). The bushes are small and scrubby looking, but loaded with blossoms. i can't wait to come back and check them again to see if they actually produce berries. i have a feeling i'll be competing with the local wildlife for them. :)
My girl was the first to spot these behind the house. i was extremely thrilled to see that the Showy orchids are coming up again. i transplanted one of these onto our property a few years ago, and not only has it returned they have started spreading. :)
They are very small and delicate, but quite lovely. The area behind our house and a natural spring that seeps up and creates a wet boggy area that is perfect for swampy woodland plants. i would really love to establish some lady slipper orchids here. i was told by a neighbor that they used to come up on our side of the creek, but i have yet to ever find them.
Along with the Mayapples and Showy Orchids, the Trillium are in full bloom. i have always loved these trillium and found it interesting that the local/common name for these is Stinking Benjamin. Seems funny that such a lovely flower would have such an awful name. :)
As always the kids have a fabulous time at the creek. While i'm running around snapping pictures of the wildflowers, they are climbing trees, wading in the water, feeding fish and catching salamanders and crawdads. They are also learning to identify many of the different plants and flowers in the area. My daughter is extremely inquisitive and wants to know the name of everything. My boy acts less interested, but is a total sponge with knowledge. i'm sometimes surprised by the amount of information he retains when i don' even realize he is listening. He can often tell me the name of wildflowers that i've forgotten. :)
i haven't been able to do a lot of hiking since having children. Having to carry them made hiking much more difficult, and then when they could finally walk their little legs would get tired quickly. So i'm really enjoying being able to really get back into the woods again and really explore some of the nature trails around us.
This summer we are planning the complete the Blue Ridge Highlands Loop, which is part of the Virginia birding and wildlife trails. we have already hiked the first 4, so we have 3 more trails to hike to complete the loop. We have several favorite places we love to hike, but always enjoy exploring new areas.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir