Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Finally, a hike where it feels like winter!

Gertrude Orr Trail
I think the area around Phoenix Lake was sprinkled with fairy dust yesterday -- the sun was shining, flowers were blooming, and everyone I passed on the trail was cheerful and smiling. Today's rain will not wash off the awesome, in fact, I think it will turn up the volume to 11.

The grassy slopes of Bald Hill need this rain. They are still mostly dry, although fresh grass has sprouted and is shifting the color balance from tan to green. Buckeyes have completely leafed out and I saw some wildflowers on Yolanda, including bluedicks, shooting stars, and hound's tongue. Down in the lower reaches of Hidden Meadow there were many milkmaids at their peak, a trend which continued on Shaver Grade and Gertrude Orr Trail. Gertrude Orr, which follows the southern shoreline of Phoenix Lake, was the absolute surprise star of the hike. The water level in the lake is low, but along the trail the understory is a lush tangle of green, and there were tons of milkmaids, fetid adder's tongue (just past their peak), Indian warrior, trilliums, hound's tongue, and mission bells (just starting).

I saw no zigadene at all until I got to the eastern shore of Phoenix Lake, where some really huge zigadenes were blooming in the grassland just before the junction with the footpath leading down to the trailhead.

Milkmaids are fairly delicate, so I'm guessing this storm may wash their petals off, but the other flowers are more sturdy and should survive the rain. If we have a dry day later this week the small waterfalls on Yolanda should be flowing.

Here's the link to my Phoenix Lake hike page (add Gertrude Orr Trail to the described route). There's a photo album from this hike on my Facebook page.

1 comment:

Elf said...

I hope I can get up there on Saturday. Won't go if it looks like it'll be raining or if it rains a lot late friday. Any idea how muddy trails there are likely to be with a bunch of rain?