Saturday 10 September 2016. Great Company, Gorgeous Morning on the Prairie

At about 11:00am this morning, as the sky continuing to clear after last night’s deluge and nearby tornado(!?!), the temperature in the comfortable 70s, six people on bikes departed from my house, headed for Meadowbrook Park and parts south and east.

It was the happy occasion of a visit from my sister and four of our childhood friends!

Originally I envisioned spending the night at the Allerton Park guest house and riding bikes home from there. But between the football weekend and tight schedules we had to scale things down.
No matter. The only essential ingredient for a successful outing for this group is having us in one place at the same time.

And we were!

Wanted to show them the gorgeous cardinal flowers, so first stop was the rabbit-statue bridge.

McCullough and Davis creeks were swollen with last night’s rain (which actually produced a tornado not far away)


No one was eager to climb down close to the flowers, but we admired them from a little distance.

And we got a selfie with the creek behind us.


Stopped only briefly at the upland cardinal flower site, and pointed to the cardinal flowers.

Stopped again near the Marker statue to look for bottle gentians. Noticed nearby, at the entrance to the soft path, a couple spikes of wild blue sage (Salvia azurea)


Like the red of the cardinal flowers, the blue of this sage gave a touch of contrast with the rising superabundance of golden yellow. The nearby tickseed, for example, were starting to burst with their version of the theme color.


Saw cream gentians

but no bottle gentians, except maybe some tiny buds that might have represented future bottle gentian flowers.

Noticed a plant among the cream gentians that was tall and rather stout with off-white flowers, the buds of which could be described as “bulbous.” It looked quite distinctive but had no idea what it was. After posting this will continue to research its identity.


Close to the statue, we saw a couple of dads with their kids playing Pokemon Go. Must say it took me aback; they were a perfectly endearing family group except that they saw my sacred place as but a Pokemon stop, perhaps something like some soccer players kicking a ball into church in the middle of mass. But at least they were there. Maybe they happened to catch some sense of the beautiful place where more than Pokemon could be found. One can hope.

My dear friends enjoyed the flowers but were starting to get restless to ride. So on we went, stopped just long enough at the Freyfogel overlook to get another group shot above the prairie.


Then we headed out Windsor to Philo, east on Old Church and over the rise I call “Yankee Ridge,” around the corner and a little way out Yankee Ridge Road. We saw couple of guys in a “Stanley Steamer” (a different brand) type van who were looking for their client’s house, so far without success and asked us if we knew where the blue house was.

We stopped at the house (not blue) of a friend I have been promising to visit on one of my bike rides, but she was not home.

On the way back onto Old Church from Yankee Ridge Road I watched a car speed in front of one one of my friends, who had the quick wits to stop. She was a bit shaken up, more so as she realized how close a call it was. We were extra careful the rest of the way back.

Again we ran into the pseudo-Stanley Steamer guys. Made me wonder if it might be worth paying a little extra for the brand name.

Saw a few spots with water across Old Church Road, the likes of which I’d before on my rides here. But it didn’t carry us away as we crossed through it and went on to have a typically wonderful visit, including having my dear company in my Saturday afternoon yoga class, followed by Thai dinner al fresco. Big thanks!


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