Searching for Wildflowers on Waldrup Ridge, Monroe County, IN.

Steven Higgs suggested that Linda and I hike Waldrup Ridge in the Hoosier National Forest in search of wildflowers. I was not having a lot of luck finding wildflowers and after I returned home, Linda would show me the wildflowers in our backyard. Thus, I was eager to find almost…

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First look at Hoosier National Forest’s Hayes Hollow; no Patton Cave yet

Approaching the Burgoon Church Road sign last week for the several-hundred-and-fifteenth time, I vowed to follow through on the same number of historic commitments to see what lies at the end, besides the church. It’s the first road east after the Ind. 446 causeway, so I knew it led to the Charles C. Deam Wilderness and Monroe Lake shoreline. But I’d never made the turn. Until last Sunday.

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Wildflower season returns to the Deam Wilderness, Hayes Trail

Bloodroot, Charles C. Deam Wilderness

I’d already fulfilled half my mission — think wildflower — by the time I contemplated another 250-foot Hayes Trail ascent in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness last Monday afternoon, with my 50mm macro in tow.

Evidence that spring wildflower season had arrived in the Hoosier National Forest – a smattering of emergent cutleaf toothworts not far from the trailhead – had already been digitally captured from ground level. Deep in the valley, some delicate, youthful spring beauties – in full bloom – had presented themselves, in full sun.

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Early spring sky and water – Otter Creek, Spring Mill

Spring Mill State Park

When the wind wasn’t blowing across the Otter Creek Riparian Restoration on March 10, it felt like spring. No wildflowers on this remote part of the Hoosier National Forest in Crawford County yet – I only noticed one dull splotch of dusty purple on the trail, not photogenic enough to justify stopping.

And when the northerly winds gusted, as they often did, I was reminded why there’s still no color. It was a zip-unzip, gloves-on-gloves-off kind of morning. But blue sky and water, whether at Otter Creek or our other stop at Spring Mill State Park two counties north in Lawrence, seldom disappoints, regardless of season.

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