I am making an effort to explore our many beautiful, natural areas and preserves. There are so many fascinating natural wonders close to home, that I would be completely remiss to ignore them! As a prompt to make sure I go exploring, I have programmed suggestions for weekly adventures into my calendar. It might not work out every week, but it at least provides a reminder of the places I wish to see and experience.
Yesterday’s ramble took us to Shenk’s Ferry Wildflower Preserve in Conestoga, Pennsylvania. I knew there would be many wildflowers in bloom, and we had a full day of gorgeous weather ahead of us. I assembled a backpack of essentials, and loaded the two little ones into the car. We had a relaxing drive through the beautiful scenery of southern Lancaster County, culminating with the bumpy descent into the glen, which made Miss Thistle giggle with delight. (I was thankful for my 4×4!)
The glen was in full bloom, and we briefly observed the sign at the trailhead, describing the various specimens, before Miss Thistle took off at a fast clip down the trail. You see, we had the good fortune of running into some close friends, and she was so pumped to hike with her little buddy that the excitement could not be contained at a walking pace! The two of them held hands and walked and skipped, stopping to observe bugs and leaves, which was “awww” inducing, to say the least.
Being in the glen was a treat for the senses. The sounds of Grubb Run bubbling below, the scent of the wildflowers, and the symphony of bird calls made for an ethereal experience. Warm sunshine filtered through the trees, and I felt deeply and profoundly grateful to be present to witness it all.
When we got to the end of the main trail, Miss Thistle and her friend had a good splash in the water. (That backpack of essentials just happened to contain a change of clothes!) When I told her it was time to go, she immersed herself, making sure she hadn’t neglected the opportunity to become fully soaked. Little Thistle slept for most of the trip, so I cannot say with certainty if he knew that he went on a beautiful hike, but I would like to think it was a soothing experience.
On the walk back we discussed the merits of bees (many), and admired the Virginia bluebells , yellow violets, trilliums, and the ubiquitous dead nettle. We also talked a great deal about how heavy wet clothes are to carry. (I’m such a cruel taskmaster).
In all, we had a wonderful time exploring Shenk’s Ferry and learning about the various blooms that grace the hillsides. Now, if someone in the know could confirm if it is spelled “Shenk’s” or “Shenks” I would be really grateful! I can’t seem to find a consensus of opinion anywhere!
Have you ever explored Shenk’s Ferry? What is your favorite wildflower? I was rather drawn to the Virginia bluebells, myself …