Sunday, April 21, 2013


 Most of this weekend I spent in Lancaster, Ohio with some mighty fine people in some mighty fine places- true hob-knobbing.  Lancaster is surrounded by  interesting land formations, not the least of which are found off  Becks- Knob Rd.

This is Ruble Knob, within Shallenberger State Nature Preserve.  These sandstone formations were shaped by water  about 300 million years ago.  You can follow the link above to read the geological history, or find a great guide to go along to tell you the story.

Jim Davidson, guide extraodinaire.
 Jim Davidson happens to be one of my favorite guides in the world.  He is a master on butterflies, dragonflies and botany!  He knows most of Ohio's State Nature Preserves like the back of his hand.  The good news, you can go in the field with him, too!  Just high-tail it over to Mothapaloosa or the Mid-West Native Plant Conference and sign up for his trip.  Just click on their logos in the side bar of this blog.

 The second stop this weekend was the annual Trillium Fest.  It is held a few miles down the road from Lancaster, and offers one of the most spectacular hikes in all of the Hocking Hills.  It is a part of the Appalachian Ohio Alliance  (A.O.A.) Land Trust.  They do some very good work, and I hope you will help support them.

Weedpicker in ski-gear in April?
Inside the main gate was a glorious stand of Marsh Marigolds, Caltha palustrus,  an early flower of the wetlands. They are in full bloom in spite of the 30 something degree weather.  Yes, I am wearing my snow suit.   The truth is, I am inordinately fond of being warm, and find no shame in wearing my ski-gear at any given time.  Tease all you like, this girl hates to be cold.

Large-Flowered Trilluim, Trillium grandiflorum

The star of this spring flower show is always the Trillium.  The Large-Flowered Trillium is our Ohio State flower and one of our most recognizable spring ephemerals.

Red Trillium, Trillium erectum

But much rarer, and even more stunning is the Red Trillium. The name Red Trillium may not always seem accurate, as it can also be pink, or creamy white.  Some call them Stinking Benjamin, as they have a rather unpleasant odor.  It may be unpleasant to the nose, but what a sight for the eyes!

Red Trillium abound within this protected site.
The walls of this naturally occurring box canyon are festooned in red.  The beauty of this portion of the Hocking Hills can hold its own against any location in Ohio, or well beyond.

The sandstone formations are dotted in a floral Elysian and deserving of permanent protection.  It is wonderful work for the ages, the people of A.O.A. are set about accomplishing. You'll find some of Ohio's best naturalists involved with this organization.  No one speaks to their mission more clearly than our friend, Paul Knoop. 
When we consider what it took to create this landscape, we must also consider what we can do to insure that future generations will also be able to marvel at its beauty.

                                                                                 Paul Knoop
It is no wonder good people like Jim Davidson and Paul Knoop continue to work towards the protection and preservation of Ohio's most beautiful and unique lands.  Join the A.O.A and see how you can visit this property too.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like we were both in the grand company of the red trillium this weekend, Cheryl! Thanks for sharing your experience; there just are fewer things more special than a sandstone gorge full of trillium this time of year :) I'm happy to hear these places are protected!