Wild Flowers and Bogs, Oh My!

#15 of my 52 Hike Challenge

Trail/Park: Elouise Butler Wildflower Garden, Quaking Bog and Trails of Theodore Wirth Regional Park

I want to acknowledge this hike took place on the traditional territory of the Wahpekute and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. To learn more about the tribes and these lands, please follow the links provided.

Ok. So maybe my hunting for spring ephemerals got a bit out of hand. But the opportunities kept presenting themselves and to be honest I’d never really paid much attention to the flowers in the spring in this way. This time I made a point, inspired by my friend and fellow hiker Wandering Pine, to visit the Elouise Butler Wildflower Garden. I don’t think I’ve ever been to the gardens in spring.

The sun peeked in and out between rain clouds as I hiked the short distance from the Wirth Beach parking lot to the entrance of the wildflower garden. Social distancing rules were still in place and I was worried it would be busy. That I’d have to wait to go in. To my surprise I’d picked just the right time to arrive. I was able to go directly into the garden and have it almost completely to myself.

I walked slowly. So slowly my fitness tracker kept sending alerts to determine if my hike was done. I walked with a measured pace, knowing I had no goal other than to enjoy the flowers in bloom. The rain turned to sun as I made my way admiring the various flowers in bloom. I stopped to take photos of the smallest blooms, many of my summer time favorites just beginning to show their leaves.

The skunk cabbage were abundant along the curving boardwalk along with various colors of trillium and jack-in-the-pulpit. I learned that Water Horsetail was what I’d seen at Lake Carlos on my visit. As I made my way back to the entrance, I passed through an area which had recently had a controlled burn to rejuvenate the growth. Many plants were already pushing up through the charred earth, standing in stark contrast to the blackened ground with their bright greens.

Leaving the garden I took one of the trails north into Theodore Wirth Regional Park’s maze of hiking and mountain biking trails. Eventually I made my way to the Quaking Bog. The last time I’d been to the bog it had been a winter hike with a group of Women Who Hike members. The bog was teaming with flowers. I noticed how the vegetation is slowly growing over the boardwalk. Ferns were slowly unfurling, shedding their fuzzy coverings.

Following the crossing paths, I came across two ladies who had been to the bog, but were now turned around as to how to get to the wildflower garden. After a few minutes of describing where they would need to go, I left them to finish my wanderings through the park’s trails and back to where I’d parked.

Leaving the park I was refreshed and inspired. Maybe I’ll need to get a set of pastels and a sketch book to start drawing the things I see on my hikes.

Next Post Preview: It’s time to hit the road for another Minnesota adventure and a bit of education.

GEAR: Merrell Women’s Siren 3 Mid Waterproof, REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket, Marmot Kompressor Pack, SPOT GEN3 Satellite GPS Messenger, Dueter Dirtbag, Kula Cloth, and Leki Women’s Micro Vario Cor-Tec TA trekking poles. Want to know more about my gear selections? Head on over to Gear & Gadgets or check out my posts titled “Gear in Review”.


Photo of a group of hikers on a sunny day in a field heading towards a wooded area. The photographer has taken the photo from behind the group.

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