Thursday, May 6, 2021

Fragrance Lake, Fiona, and fairy slippers

We were seventeen all together

Today seventeen Senior Trailblazers met at the Lost Lake trailhead, our first real gathering since the pandemic began. Since the Senior Center is still closed, we drove either alone or with friends, all of us now completely vaccinated and able to gather in larger groups outdoors without masks. Earlier in the week we had been led to expect rain today, but we learned it had decided to wait until later in the afternoon before moving in. So we had a lot of interest in getting out and about.

My group of nine (I took the picture)

We broke into two groups, one of 8 and the other of 9, and I joined the group that would go more slowly and not travel as far as the other one. We walked up the service road to Fragrance Lake, figuring we'd take the hiking trail back and make a loop out of it. 

A meagre waterfall today

Since we haven't had much rain lately, you can see that our waterfall is looking much less impressive than usual, but it's still very beautiful. Our group decided to make our way to Fragrance Lake and make a trip around in and head back to the parking lot. But that is not how it turned out.

At the lake

Once we got to the lake, Tom suggested that we explore a "gentle" trail that would take us up to Fiona Ridge, and then we could decide how to get back to the original trail after exploring the ridge. 

Trail up to Fiona Ridge

Tom led us up the trail, which was obviously not well used, and in no way would I call it "gentle." Apparently that is only in comparison to the steep and difficult Fiona trail that is more well known. I struggled my way up the trail, and fortunately I had the help of Richard, who held out his hand for me many times, as I made my way up steep and rather treacherous spots.

A calypso orchid

One bright spot on the trail was the discovery of some gorgeous and rather rare pink orchids, right by the seldom used trail. Melanie got this picture, since mine was out of focus. These are also called fairy slippers, but their actual name is Calypso bulbosa. That article tells us that they are a perennial member of the orchid family found in undisturbed northern and montane forests. 

Trail to Fragrance Lake 

Once we came off the ridge, we were on Cleator Road, which we had to walk for about a mile until we got to this trail that would take us either to the service road or the longer but more lovely trail back to the parking lot. Since by this time we were pretty tired, we chose to take the shorter and more direct route back.

In any event by the time we finished, we compared our devices and worked out that we had covered around eight miles up and down, which explains why I feel so tired right now! It was a good day, and a great way to begin our post-pandemic season. It was nice not to have to worry about masks or social distancing, since we are all fully vaccinated now and our options are opening up.

I'm glad I had the chance to do this "short" hike and to learn that I am still capable of making longer trips into the wilderness. It was a good day indeed. And even now, after 3:00pm, the rain has still not started!



  1. How absolutely wonderful to be able to meet up again.
    And that gorgeous orchid is icing on the cake.

  2. That sounds like a good day's hike.

  3. It must be a good feeling to get back with a complete group.

  4. Wow that's a pretty orchid!!! As if it was waiting for you to show up!!

    And, I'm sure it felt wonderful to have a "normal" group again!!

  5. Wow, normal again. How great it must have been to reunite with your hiking buddies and actual see their faces. That "gentle" path looked pretty rough though.

  6. I really admire your fortitude. I could never do that hike. I am glad that your friend gave you a helping hand now and then.

  7. That orchid was a real find. So glad things are returning to normal for you.

  8. OMGosh! Finally you all got to hike together again!! :)
    Love that orchid.

  9. It is so good to read about the Trailblazers again. It must have been great to get out with them.

  10. Interesting that you don't need masks if you are vaccinated. That makes hiking even better, as well as gathering with friends! Glad you made it through the
    "gentle" trail.

  11. DJan, looks like a good hike (love the pic of the waterfall). Glad you could be with your friends. We're still using masks here (even fully vaccinated) - but being outside in the open air is pretty safe I would think.

  12. This makes me think of the Extra ‘commercial’ that I posted today. It must have felt wonderful to get back together although you may have overdone it a bit.

  13. Glad your group is back hiking together. What a relief! The Calypso Orchid is very rare here, but I did see them once.

  14. Oh, wonderful that you can now hike with your friends in groups. What a special treat that was finding the wild orchid. I remember the joy we felt when we found Lady Slippers in the woods. So rare and lovely.

  15. That is good news for you! You can see all of your friends again! That Orchid is just beautiful!

  16. Wonderful that you can gather with your friends again....mask less !
    What a stunning Orchid, growing in the wild, how fascinating.
    The trail hike looked to be one for the more experienced hiker, I sadly would end up on my bum :)
    Happy Mother's Day DJan, hope you have a lovely one.

  17. That calypso orchid is so sweetly pretty. Oh gosh! 8 miles? You'd have to get someone to push me up the last 7 miles.


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