Saturday, May 18, 2013

Wildflower Walk

Fringed Polygala

 We gathered this morning, we intrepid garden club ladies, for a wildflower walk at Moreau Lake State Park, a nearly 5,000 acre jewel just north of Saratoga Springs, NY.

 Our leader was Jackie, pictured below, whose Saratoga Woods and Waterways blog has been a favorite of mine since I discovered it a couple of years ago. I was delighted to finally meet her.

With Jackie were her friends Sue, who blogs at Waterlily,  and the amazing (ahem) 86 year-old Ruth, author of Trailside Notes: A Naturalist's Companion to Adirondack PlantsRuth is wearing an orange jacket in photo 2, above.

Ruth is my new role model. Jackie used to be my role model, for her wonderful blog, her excellent photos, and her nearly daily outdoor adventures. But Jackie, I learned today, is a mere 72. So Ruth rules!

Of course, I forgot to bring a notebook. And oh, my goodness, what knowledge of the woods these three ladies have! I think these red flowers, above, were on a black huckleberry bush.

We found tiny violets in bloom ...

... and (I think) Canada Mayflowers.

Salamanders galore darted along the the edge of the water. Look how clear the lake water was.

A fallen tree had become a "beaver buffet".

We didn't have to look far to see where the beavers were hanging out. Can you see the lodge?

We learned about the many varieties of dragonflies, just now emerging from the water.

We saw evidence of a muskrat buffet...

...where they had been dining on snails in the same cosy lakeside spot.

Tadpoles were everywhere.

There was red columbine ...

... and sweet white violets, and much, much more.  I'm sorry my photo of "bastard toadflax" was blurry. What a dramatic name for a wildflower.

These ladies were wonderful guides. Jackie's blog had already gotten me to see the woods in new ways. Today's two hour walk with three enthusiastic naturalists has me hooked. When can we go again?

Jackie recommended Lawrence Newcomb's Wildflower Guide.


I recommend bringing a notebook.