Lisa and I had a good trip up the pass on the weekend. It has been busy.
We had an eye out for wild orchids. We caught sight of plenty of Venus Slipper’s and even a few rare Yellow Lady’s Slipper’s. The Venus was especially prolific. These small orchids are only about three to four inches high, but stand out among the moss on the damp forest floor.
The next two wild orchids to appear will be the showy Wood and Franklin.
On another subject, we had a light frost this morning. It doesn’t look like it damaged any of the plants, however, I had to put the run on two small buck mule deer with nub velvet horns that decided to trim two of my flower baskets.
It seems orchids and bears start to appear at the same time in the bush. The trick is not to be too focused on one or the other. For instance, if you are just on the lookout for bears you might step on the delicate Venus’s Lady’s Slipper.
A Black Bear says, ‘What are you doing here?’
Conversely, if you are laying on your belly in the moss, intent on focusing your camera on these lovely orchids, you could pop up your head and have a surprise. Awareness is always the best policy.
It was a quick trip into the bush this evening. It has been busy with work. Usually in bed before the sun is down.
We were looking for the next wild orchids. After the Calypso comes the larger Yellow species. These are said to be quite rare. They often grow by springs that arise from the mountain side.
The first cub is waisting no time getting hid.
Although still warm from the day, we saw a female Black Bear and two cubs on the road going up. I worry for these bears. Even though there is no hunting season for them right now, they are often poached for certain parts (feet, gallbladder, head) to be sent overseas.
The orchids were there waiting when we arrived. Very fine evening.
While on the mountain last weekend I noticed the Yellow Orchids were close to opening. They appear quickly and disappear just as quickly. Willow and I made a quick trip this evening and there they were, near a spring on a slope.
Willow dipped her paws in the soft ground.
The Yellow Orchid is rare around here. We used to run pictures of them in the newspaper, but never disclosed the location they were found. Once they are picked they disappear.
The flower nurtures the roots, the pods spread seeds, the seeds have to land on the right kind of moss, the moisture and decay has to be just right, sometimes they take several years to germinate. It is a miracle the wild orchid exists at all.
That’s the thing about life. Regardless of the obstacles, it not only endures, but flourishes.
When Willow got back in the truck, after tramping through the creek bottom, she smelled like fishy mud. And she still does.
I was in the bush a little over a week ago looking for orchids. All I found was a few flat petals on top of the moss. I was on time but they were late.
Today. Willow and I set out early, just to check. It’s been busy and we had to be quick. Sure enough, the first of the wild orchids were in abundance.
Calypso Bulbosa is only about three inches tall. They are hard to get pictures of without laying on the ground. Each flower seems different. Some are almost white.
They won’t last long. Another week and they will disappear back into the forest floor.
Willow ran, barked at the sun’s arrival, kept the perimeter clear and checked in with me periodically. She is good at her job. I feel bad when we get busy because she doesn’t get to be in the mountains. Still she never complains.
The stars and orchids are in the same place, while I walk around, not on the earth or into the sky either. Somehow, I’ve been lucky enough they let me watch on occasion.
They’re always on time, while I stumble around, call Willow and crash my way back to the valley bottom, late as usual.