Saturday, May 18, 2019

Gal Pals from the North Visit Lake Bonita

We came prepared for rain.  But for once this soggy spring, the rain held off and the sky even cleared on Friday, the day I was welcoming a group of women to hike around Lake Bonita with me. These women live up in the Adirondacks and as a group have hiked some of the most spectacular mountainous trails up north.  So I was a bit worried they might find the tamer trails around this little lake less interesting than those they were used to.  But I shouldn't have worried.  Even though Lake Bonita lies in the lower mountains of Moreau Lake State Park, the trail that circumvents it offers a vigorous hike, and my friends -- to judge from their happy remarks -- found much to delight them here. 

From the parking area off the Wilton Mountain Road, the trail descends a steep north-facing slope to a hemlock-dominated dark forest. From here we made our way along a narrow trail bordered by  boulders and moss-covered bedrock ledges, the lake barely visible between the standing trees.

When we reached the south-facing shore, we were treated to beautiful views of the lake.  Here, we moved along sun-dappled trails that were bordered by hardwood trees and white pines, a noticeable change from the hemlock-shadowed woods we started out in.

The hemlock woods were indeed dark and damp, with few wildflowers growing beneath them.  But it was in that very habitat we found numerous Painted Trilliums, their lovely white petals splashed with ruby red.

The bright-white flowers of Goldthread also thrived in the hemlock gloom, holding their blooms high above their glossy green leaves. I know of no other wildflower that bears such remarkable parts as Goldthread's hook-shaped pistils and yellow-jelly "petals" surrounded by almost translucent white sepals. This is a flower that definitely deserves a closer look!

When we reached a small stream that was flowing into the lake, we found it littered with moss-covered rocks, with beautiful clumps of Foamflower occupying some of the mid-stream rocks.

After trekking along the north shore, we took a lunch break on a rocky promontory that jutted out into the lake.  Here on this sun-warmed ledge, we found the beautiful pink-and-yellow blooms of Pale Corydalis sprouting up from cracks in the rock.

If the deep-purple flowers of Ovate-leaved Violets had not been so vividly colored, we probably would have missed seeing these furry little plants, so tiny they were. 

We spotted these violets in a sunny sandy spot beneath an old power-line clearcut now growing up with native wildflowers. We could see from many abundant patches of leaves that Trailing Arbutus also shared this clearcut, although its flowers were already spent. We could also see many Pink Lady's Slippers poking up from the leaf litter, their flowers still only in bud.

I think we shall have to return, if only to witness the Pink Lady's Slippers when they come into glorious bloom.


The Furry Gnome said...

Oh to be out in the woods!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Oh, how I wish you COULD be out in the woods, Furry! I am glad, though, that you get around as well as you do,in the beautiful area you call home.

threecollie said...

So many amazing plants in bloom. One thing to be said for all this rain is that, not only is there a lot of beauty to enjoy, the blossoms seem to last so much longer.