Thirty-nine years ago a group of us that I’ve long called “The Naturalists” went botanizing below Rocky Ridge where plants that are rare or non-existent in the area where we live grew in some abundance.
In the late 1990s our son-in-law and I returned to Rocky Ridge to hike in the area where he’d spent time deer hunting the previous fall. It was one of the last times we hiked together before his heart failed him at a much too young age.
Recently, I decided to go back to Rocky Ridge to find and photograph some of the plants we’d seen those many years ago. I couldn’t find the obscure orchid called puttyroot which blooms in the spring, but whose single leaf only emerges in late summer, then withers and dies during the winter.
But I did locate some showy orchis, a beautiful small orchid –
A second highlight of the trip was the hike to the ridgetop which is occupied by the sandstone outcrops from which the ridge’s name is derived.
A trail winds over and between the outcrops –
At several spots clambering atop some of the rocks affords views over Stone Valley and some of the many long ridges of Pennsylvania’s Ridge and Valley region.
It wasn’t just the rocks and the views that made this hike enjoyable; it was also the many flowers, among them, the pinkster azalea –
Pink lady’s-slipper –
And perfoliate bellflower –
Rocky Ridge is a special area in so many ways; I should visit it more often.