Early summer is a great time to go hiking. The weather is not too hot yet, and the trails are full of flowers. We like going to the NC Arboretum property, as it has a number of trails, and none are very strenuous. Recently, the Arboretum opened up a few trails again after weeks of being mostly closed. The number of people allowed inside is very limited, and there are only two parking areas open at trailheads. This past week, the buildings were all closed, and they were working on resurfacing the main parking area. We got there early one morning, and drove to the farthest area near the greenhouse. We have not hiked this area before, usually we go to the gardens then do the trails near the Baker Center.
At the trailhead, huge banks of mountain laurel were blooming profusely.
These were pure white, just lovely, and well populated with pollinators.
On another part of the trail, the pink variety was also in bloom. Sorry this pic is a bit off, the camera focused on the leaf instead of the flower and I couldn’t see that in the bright sunshine. But, you can see the pink stars in the flower.
The trail led up a hillside, with handrails for the entrance to this part. Two trails cross here.
This side led upward, nicely maintained and easy to follow.
Along the path, signs pointed out various tree types.
I kept noticing this low plant with lots of white buds.
Farther down, one had opened up. I think it is a Partridge Berry, and will have little red berries in the fall. We might have to come back just to see if they do.
Here and there, small streams flow gently over rocks.
Looking up, a canopy of green. I pause just to take it in. Once again, I feel the restorative effect of shinrinyoku, literally taking a “forest bath”, being in this light. Birdsong surrounds us, we are alone on the trail.
Small things capture my attention, like the various colors of green in the moss.
The glow of sunlight on a white Lizard’s Tail flower catches my eye.
I came down some steps leading off the trail, then turned around to get a photo of them. The stacked stones have a natural beauty, conveying a sense of age and permanence.
The steps led to an alcove, with a stacked stone bench in dappled shade to sit and enjoy the forest.
Moving on, more mountain laurel was blooming.
A small clearing held masses of slender goldentop, a variety of aster.
Each one is a bouquet of bright yellow flowers.
Elsewhere, stands of mixed wildflowers kept the butterflies busy.
A white dogwood was covered with flowers, like it was dusted in powdered sugar.
Pretty. Our dogwood at the edge of the meadow has bloomed too.
We had a nice long hike, so welcome after weeks of staying at home. We weren’t able to do much hiking last year due to my knee issues, but the physical therapy has done the job. Now, I can again get out and enjoy our beautiful part of the country. We plan to do a lot more hiking this summer, staying near home as travel isn’t appealing right now.
We will be going again this coming week as they just opened up a bit more with the Baker Center opening this week for restrooms, and the more formal garden areas to walk for Phase 2. The Arboretum blog just posted about how they do their Quilt Garden, Quilting With Flowers, and it is pretty interesting reading. You can see my previous posts showing the Quilt Garden at A Quilt Garden and Making Scents.
Are you getting out in nature? Are your parks opening up?
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