A four mile hike is difficult to plan right in the middle of a 500+ mile day’s drive, but it was accomplished by an hour of planning the night before. Sumter National Forest somehow just fell into the 250 mile point of the trip. This trail winds along a creek valley that is part of the Savannah River watershed. We had no idea what to expect. We were immediately greeted by a colony of blooming Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum).
We have whole colonies in Morris Park, which we admire every year. It was great to find them early, 800 miles away from Philadelphia. Here they were blooming a month before the time they bloom in Morris Park.
We noticed that the hillside where they were growing is next to a creek, just like in Morris Park, Pennypack Park, and West and East Fairmount Park.
What a joy to behold after sitting in the car for six hours.
Below are beeches and oaks: a scene familiar to us in Morris Park.
As we made our way further down the hill, Rue anemone started to make an appearance. These flowers seem to float above the leaf layer in elegant drifts.
We found some white ones and some pink-purples ones.
The delicate folded leaves await the moment to open and gather sunlight.
All the flower and the leaves are created from the energy stores in their root system, which was entirely gathered from last year’s photosynthesis.
Note the long and delicate stem:
We don’t know what species it was, except that it was a sessile trillium. Our best guess is Trillium reliquum, according to the book Trilliums by Frederick W. Case, Jr. and Roberta B. Case.
We only saw two specimens of Mayapple in our four mile walk. Still, definitely a delight.
We see the wild geranium grow in Morris Park amongst Mayapple and Bloodroot.
This is our first blooming bloodroot of the year 2011. In Florida, it had already bloomed. Of course it hasn’t even poked out of the leaf layer in Pennsylvania yet. Our trip has been like a space and time machine, giving us a early peek at spring.
What a joy it is to see a blooming Sanguinaria canadensis!
The trail had mile markers, which helped us gauge how far to walk before we should turn around, being that we had another 250 miles to cover that day.
Last but not least, we loved the sign they had at the trail head. Enjoy: