Hike to Mud Lake – Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Report by Aleda Koehn – Twelve eager hikers huffed our way up the first steep leg of our trip to Mud Lake. The day was beautiful- not to hot and no bothersome insects. We were looking for late spring wildflowers. We did see many, but not as abundant nor as advanced as last year when we did the same trail on May 19. The Star Flower was seen and many budding False-Lily-of-the-Valley. Once we got into the wetter areas we saw many Painted Trillium, sometimes in groups and sometimes solitary. I do not remember seeing so many Painted Trilliums here before. We crossed the brook and spotted the lovely purple Gay Wings, (Polygala), found in the same area each year. We saw Clintonia, a few in bloom, and also Indian Cucumber, but only buds. We arrived at the place where we always see the pink Azalea, (Rhododendren roseum), but there were only buds- no open flowers. In town these bushes are all covered with spicy smelling pink blossoms. In the bog many of the pitcher plant leaves had browned and ragged tips. Maybe the frost we had in early May nipped the ends of the insect catching leaves. It was a strange winter and spring; many plants suffered from the lack of snow cover as well as a frost that came after tender shoots were susceptible. Everyone enjoyed the hike which took us about 3 hours and 15 minutes including breaks, for just under 5 miles. A group of Laurens Central School students were also enjoying a hike on the same trail.  Photographs: are by Fred Johnson. 

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