Sunday, March 28, 2010

Five: Vandolah Nature Preserve

Saturday afternoon, after getting my orange hair cut off (another story), I headed to Vandolah Nature Preserve, which is perhaps 2 miles from my home. My friend Tammy and my friend and husband Steve met me there. After we had a picnic on the entry bench, we headed into the preserve.

There are a lot of very old apple trees at the entry, remnants of a farmstead. Ellsworth Smith told me that the woman who donated the land recalls her grandmother telling how Johnny Appleseed would eat dinner at their farm but would then leave to sleep outdoors. Are these descendants of trees planted by Johnny?

After leaving the orchard area, we hiked along a trail that borders I-69. At this point, you wonder if you really are in a nature preserve, with the numerous trees downed by the utility company, the cars and trucks whizzing by and the bush honeysuckle thicket.

Then you head into the ravines. We had quite a discussion whether this wetland was a fen, swamp or marsh.

The cut-leaved toothwort is ready to bloom.

And the hepatica is in full bloom. Once we spotted this bloom, we discovered the whole south-facing hill was abloom in hepatica.

Looking down the hill, we spotted this hollow stump, with the perfect peephole over the wetlands.

And a perfect place to get out of the wind.

Oh, no! Someone has lost the trail.

If only that person can make it to the solid log off that rotten log.

Will we have to undertake a rescue?

A picture of perfect grace.

And a successful landing.

After prancing down the ravine, we slowly climb up, taking rests as needed.

Perhaps we will see you at the next preserve we hike.

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