September 1, 2019
We couldn’t stand not to do more wildflower searching on this long holiday weekend, and a chance encounter with an I–naturalist posting led us to Hyland Lake Park Reserve in search of yellow gentian. We hoped to beat the rain that threatened, but we and the rain arrived at the park at the same time. Undeterred and under umbrellas, we hunted for the gentian and found it exactly where I-naturalist had marked it.
The rain came down harder, but Kelly had rain gear in her car, including rubber boots and an extra coat for me (who had forgotten everything in my excitement to go find another new-to-us flower), and we followed a trail into the restored prairie area where we saw aster, monarda, goldenrod, spotted Joe-pye weed, black-eyed Susan, big bluestem, blazing star (one sheltering a monarch waiting out the rain), prairie onion, butterfly-weed, and round-headed bush clover. Making our way back through the tall grass (my pants soaked to my knees and beyond), we came across another yellow gentian, then another, and another and another—maybe fifty different plants in all. Among plants around the nature center we saw ironweed, obedient plant, and turtlehead, and under a thistle blossom a cluster of three bumblebees waited for drier weather.
Soaked but beaming, we headed toward home in search of dry clothes and coffee just as the rain stopped.