Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Take-A-Look-Tuesday: The Start of Spring Ephemeral Season

[I was originally planning to make this a "Wordless Wednesday" post, but I have a hard time being wordless, and I really wanted to post this before Wednesday. --So, I'm calling it a "Take-A-Look Tuesday" post! This is my 60th post, by the way!]

On Sunday, the 18th, I biked along the Munger Trail from Duluth to Jay Cooke State Park. It was my longest ride of the season so far (I was on the Trail for 6 hours, not because it takes that long to get from Duluth to Jay Cooke, but because I stop constantly to take photos--like 300 photos! As Ms Durant says, I have a problem...). It was a lovely day, and the spring ephemerals were beginning to bloom. Hepatica was everywhere I looked! 

Hepatica, Munger Trail, May 18, 2014.
There's a really nice bridge over the river. I hadn't ever biked that far before, so I didn't even know it was there. It looked fairly new. 
Bridge over St Louis River
The view from the bridge was pretty spectacular: the water levels are really high from all the snow-melt.
View of St Louis River from the bridge.
Among the flowers I saw, Bloodroot was a nice surprise. The flowers only last a couple days, so I was in the right place at the right time to see them. The flowers rise up out of the ground before their leaves are fully outspread.

The Marsh Marigolds were almost ready to bloom--look at those nice, fat buds! Every drainage ditch I passed seemed full of them.
Marsh Marigolds ready to pop open.
I saw lots of ferns sprouting up out of the ground. Many different kinds of ferns grow along the Trail. I'm not exactly sure what kind these are (one could easily spend a whole season just learning to identify the various kinds--maybe one day I'll do that).

It's almost true that every time I bike the Trail I see something I haven't seen before: this time, it was Ramps or Wild Garlic. They were all over the place, often in large groups. It took me half of my ride to figure out what they were, as I'd never seen them before and didn't think they grew around here--when I got back home, I was able to identify them with more certainty. They're easy to spot because there's not much greenery yet. Soon they'll be hard to see when the rest of the undergrowth catches up with them.
I also saw several large clusters of dead Puffball mushrooms. 
Dead Puffballs
As I said, Hepatica was everywhere, in large clusters, mostly the white kind. I've been trying really hard to learn to take better photos of white flowers because soon the Trilliums will be blooming. I used my new iPhone polarizing filter for this shot, and it helped cut some of the glare from the sun. 
More Hepatica
This photo below shows one of the few Trillium buds I saw. Most of the Trilliums had just recently popped out of the ground. I'm hoping to see a few flowers this coming weekend. You can see how strong the morning sunlight is--I took this photo shortly after 8 am, and even with the polarizing filter, and some editing, the glare is pretty strong.
Trillium bud
I really like this shot below. I was perched rather precariously on a steep hillside, trying to shoot some blue Hepatica, but I took a shot of this white one while I was there. I didn't think it would turn out, but it did.
This (below) is what many of the Trillium plants looked like. I like the way the leaves are spiraled up around the bud.
Trillium, newly sprouted
For a few weeks now, I've been taking photos of a deer carcass in the woods about 20 feet off the Trail. I saw it while checking on a patch of Hepatica, of course. There's not much left of it. Back when there was still quite a bit of snow in the woods, I had seen a lame doe on the Trail, and I wonder if this is her. 
Deer leg: taken a week ago. It's still there.
I also wonder what kind of critter killed this deer:  Wolf? Coyote? 
Some of the dead doe's fur, glistening with morning dew, taken a week ago.
What's left of her is beautiful in its own way...
Her jaw, also taken a week ago.
You never know what you'll see…you have to keep your eyes open. There's always so much to look at, down low and up high. 
Porcupine, taken a week ago.
This porcupine came down from the treetop and crossed the path right in front of me: I thought I was filming him, but when I got home, I realized I must not have pressed the start button! All I got were a few stills while he was up in the tree.
Spider on Mullein leaf from a week ago.
I have to admit, my eyes are usually focused on the ground...
Blue Hepatica, also taken a week ago.
If you don't look now, and in the coming weeks, you'll miss a lot of beauty. I can't wait until next weekend! 


  1. These are amazing photos! It looks like you have a great day on the trail.