Sunday was the best day of all because Saturday was windy and cold and Monday it rained all day. This was our first try at a Soup ’n Walk on Sunday. We had lunch first and a 90-minute walk after. There were 24 guests signed up. After our lunch of spring lentil soup, carrot and cranberry salad, ancient grain bread with orange marmalade, and a luscious dessert of fudge cake brownies with cocoa sauce, and a short talk about ancient grains and the color in the recipes, we split into two groups for the walk. The room was lovely, thanks to all the volunteers. Zaida W. did the arrangements, and Lynn L., Shirley B., and Pat B. set the tables and got the soup hot and the rest of the food out for our guests. Thanks also to the staff who got things ready for us.
One group took a brisk hike all the way out to see if the trout lilies were blooming. Margan and Mary Jo’s group went the Blockston Branch and the Creekside trail for a slower 90-minute walk. We were hoping to find pink and white ephemerals and some yellow blooms.
My group checked the sassafras trees along the meadow, and they were showing some yellow tips but were not blooming yet. We hurried on to the Tuckahoe trail, pausing briefly to note the persimmon trees and their pebbled bark, the blueberries just showing pink tips, and the shadbush not yet blooming. When we got to the spicebush bridge, we found their many lovely yellow blooms and paused to admire them.
Just about 20 feet farther on the left, we made a magnificent discovery of a huge patch of bloodroot in bloom. I have never seen so many blooms in one spot! The ants must have been very busy carrying the eliasome coated seeds and planting them every foot or so for quite an area. A participant on the walk took many of the photos featured here, including one of a butterfly. Can anyone identify it?
All around us we also saw quite a few spring beauties, many more than two weeks ago. Up and down a few more hills, we were greeted by Ann R. the photographer. She was there to photograph the trout lilies. We crossed the stream on a little foot bridge and went up another hill. Lo and behold, the trout lily leaves were spotted, and on the other side of a fallen tree there were about a dozen blooms. Another spectacular sight for our winter-weary eyes!
It takes about 45 minutes of fast walking to get to this spot. Then we turned back and retraced our steps and enjoyed the flowers again, as well as the many skunk cabbage leaves, with a few blooms left and some spring or rock cress showing buds but no flowers yet. Many commented on how lucky we were to have such beautiful weather for a great walk in the woods.
by Julianna Pax