In the Grip of Spring FeverBy Sue Freeman
I’m in the grip of spring fever. I can’t help it. The stark white of winter snows gave way to the drab browns of early spring. Then, slowly, but gradually the rains came and the winds blew warmer. Bulbs and ribosomes that lay dormant all winter poked their heads above ground, some bold enough to burst forth with their brilliant display of color. Even trees re-awoke and budded out. Spring is all around and it calls me outdoors.
Going for a walk this time of year can be a little muddy. But, mud on your boots is a small price to pay for the rewards. This is your chance to watch the spring rebirth up close. Spring blooming plants are a special treat. Maybe it’s because they poke out of the brown forest floor and shout out their color. They aren’t masked like summer flowers - in a profusion of green.
One example is trillium. This protected plant comes through the forest floor with big green leaves framing 3 colored pedals of red or white. Most wild trillium in this area is white. Some is red or multi-colored. A good place to see trillium around Rochester is to head to Fishers and hike south on the Auburn Trail from the cobblestone pumphouse. Less than a quarter of a mile down the trail on the right you’ll see a forest floor awash in gleaming white blossoms. If you wait and go later in the month, the bright white blossoms will fade to a pretty pink.
Another splash of spring color can be found in Powder Mills Park. Begin from the parking area off Park Road where Irondequoit Creek crosses and hike north along the creek on the white-blazed Daffodil Trail. In 0.7 mile you’ll reach a bench along the creek, nestled in a field of over 2,000 King Alfred daffodils waving in the spring breeze. The Pittsford Garden Club planted these. Rest on the bench a while, serenaded by the gurgle of Irondequoit Creek as you enjoy the panorama of yellow. Then continue down the trail for a 3.4-mile loop hike.
Another spring flower to go in search of is mayapples. These grow wild on forest floors like the trillium. Only with mayapples you have to be a sleuth to find their blossoms. The characteristic feature of mayapples are their big multi-lobed leaves forming an umbrella on a green stalk, in stark contrast to the brown forest floor. Lift up the green leaves and you’ll find a small white flower, that eventually develops into a green berry – giving mayapples their name. Any moist hardwood forest floor is good mayapple spotting gounds. We’ve seen them hiking the Crescent Trail at Horizon Hill in Perinton, in Oatka Creek Park in Scottsville, at Helmer Nature Center in Irondequoit, and many other places.
Give in to spring fever and go for a walk. It’s the only type of fever you can truly enjoy, assisted by nature’s profusion of wildflowers. To enjoy these spring walks, order a copy of the guidebook “Take A Hike – Family Walks in the Rochester Area” at www.footprintpress.com or call 1-800-431-1579.
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