The great thing about visiting places nearby is that different seasons offer such delightful treats, if you pay attention. From walks in past years, I knew lady slippers were growing next to the Blackstone Gorge, and I had seen a very few lady slippers in other nearby places. To enjoy other views of the gorge, check out these posts: https://marjorieturner.com/2018/04/26/history-of-the-blackstone-gorge/ https://marjorieturner.com/2017/06/07/searching-for-mountain-laurel-blackstone-gorge/ https://marjorieturner.com/2011/10/20/enjoying-the-wonders-of-the-blackstone-gorge-2/
So we set out in the cool of the morning to see if we could spot these lovely northern orchids that are here once a year for a limited time only. No, this is not sales copy for a local retail store, just the truth!
We ventured near the banks of the river first, and spotted some sweet patches of bluets, tiny white flowers with a small touch of blue. Even while searching for flowers, we enjoyed the sounds of the rushing Blackstone river as it squeezes through the Blackstone Gorge–such a magical place.
In just a few weeks the mountain laurel will bloom here, but for now, the buds are waiting their turn.
Low bush blueberries are blooming, promising woodland treats for visitors who come here in late July.
I usually simply walk the trail here, with no particular goal in mind, but as I walked, searching for lady slippers, I was reminded of how rocky and sloped this trail really is.
If it were not such a small area, with multiple stunning views, I probably would have left it off my “Easy Walks” list, but because of the multitude of cool things just waiting to be discovered on visits to the Gorge, it remains on my list, despite its challenges.
In just a week or two, the lady slippers will be a memory, while the gorge will be filled with mountain laurel blossoms. And if you miss the mountain laurel, there is always more to see, regardless of the season. Happy Trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.
4 responses to “Lady Slippers at the Blackstone Gorge”
nice blog post…thanks for share
Thanks for commenting, Appreciate your reading, happy for you to share if you are inclined.
People need to be reminded that Lady Slippers are protected by law, and it is illegal to pick or dig up lady slipper plants on Federal properties.
Thanks Mary–yes, federal law protects these lovely norther orchids on federal land–regardless of the location, specific fungi is needed by the plant roots for them to thrive, thus digging up to relocate is almost certainly doomed to failure, so please leave them right where they are, and enjoy!