Today was a perfect day for a hike–cool temps and a breeze kept the bugs at bay. And so my guy and I headed off after lunch with a destination in mind. Backpack–check. Camera–check. Map–check.
And with the latter, it all ended.
We’d hiked our intended trail once before within the last ten years, but remembered that back then we had a difficult time following it. We were sure, however, that we could find our way today and we did. Until, that is, we reached a junction and read the snowmobile trail signs. Our gut told us to go straight but because we were on a snowmobile trail, the signs listed destinations. We looked at the map, looked at the signs, and convinced ourselves to turn right.
And so we journeyed on, enjoying the beauty of hobblebush even as it forced us to do what it was named for–hobble through the undergrowth.
But how could we resist such beauty. Or should I say, how could I resist such beauty–my guy trudged on. I think it’s the complexity of the blossom that intrigued me most–large, five-petaled, sterile flowers encircled petite and fertile, waxy-white flowers. Why big showy flowers surrounding such tiny ones complete with stamens and pistils? Perhaps the outer sentry attract insects for the sake of pollination.
Also thinking about pollination–those purple runway lines of the round-leaved violets. I’m not a fashion girl, but it’s flowers like this that make me realize you can combine a variety of colors to make a statement.
A much more subtle display of color–rose twisted-stalk. Not a great photo, but the flowers dangled below the twisted stalk. Why rose? The bell-shaped flowers that occur singly at the leaf axils are pale rose in hue. Why twisted? Because at each leaf junction the stem takes a distinct twist.
Adding to the subtle color of the season–sarsaparilla. I love the fact that this particular example shows the variety in the finely toothed compound leaves–in this case, two leaves sporting five leaflets, while another consists of three. It’s the three that sometimes gives this plant an undeserved bad rap–leaves of three, leave them be, refers to poison ivy. But this is not P.I. as we used to call it when I was a kid.
Another sorta look-alike, coltsfoot that resembles a dandelion. The difference–a coltsfoot seed ball retains its flower parts.
As the tender new leaves emerge, the landscape softens.
From subtle colors
to hairy fringes
and fuzzy coatings, the world embraces a softer point of view.
Though we continued to make delightful discoveries, it was evident that we were on the wrong trail.
After a couple of hours, we turned back.
And at the point where we ignored our gut feelings and decided to turn right, we checked on the other trail–and found that it was blazed. Oh well.
We’ll save it for another day.