It's only November, yet I'm already thinking ahead to next spring. I'm not sure how wise it is on my part to be wishing my life away like that. After all, I'm no spring chicken. So should I slow down and just enjoy the late fall and winter...? Nah!
One of the things I look forward to every spring is a hike my wife and I do along the Appalachian Trail. Don't get the wrong idea: we do only a short section of the trail. It would probably be fairer to call it a "walk" than a "hike." But when one is talking about a trail as storied as this one, it always sounds better to say "hike." We do a section in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
Anyway, this annual event means so much more to us than just exercise. In fact, primarily, it's a chance to shake off our cabin fever after the long winter, pack a lunch and a wildflower identification book and get out and observe wildflowers. While a wildflower such as Caltha palustris (marsh marigold) is common in our area, we don't encounter Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches, a bleeding heart relative) nearly as much. But a highlight (for us) of this section of the trail is a wooded hillside covered with Dicentra cucullaria; it truly dominates the slope, with little other vegetation present this time of year to obscure it.
I wouldn't walk a mile for a Camel, but I wouldn't give up this springtime pilgrimage even if it meant a deeper trek into the woods than we already do. In fact, to inhale the fairyland magic of such a hallowed site, I could be induced to undertake a real "hike."
Read article: Dutchman's Breeches
Related resource: Bleeding Heart Vine
Photo ©2010 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)