On Friday May 25 we headed for Gooseberry Falls State Park, which last year at this time had been bursting with spring wildflowers. Along the way north we passed Banning State Park and thought, Why not? So we turned in. As we drove down the park’s entrance road we spotted:
And so we decided to hike a few trails. We didn’t make it very far along the Trillium trail or the Skunk Cabbage trail because we weren’t wearing boots (lots of water on the trails), but the Quarry trail turned out to be spectacular. Here’s a list of what we saw hiking that trail:
Starry false Solomon’s seal in bud
Yellow trout lilies
Blue bead lily
Carolina spring beauty
Jack in the pulpit
As a final treat a wet area across the road as we drove out of the park was filled with wild calla blooming.
Farther north we stopped in at Jay Cooke State Park, crossed over the St. Louis River on the bridge, and followed the summer trail to see:
Rose twisted stalk
Blue bead lily
Lots of yellow trout lilies
Carolina spring beauties
Sessile leaf bellwort
And a brand new flower for us: dwarf wild ginseng
Finally we came to the place we had headed north to visit, Gooseberry Falls State Park. The abundance of wild flowers we’d seen last year were almost nowhere to be found, and a naturalist told us an unusually dry spring had delayed everything. We did see a few panicled bluebells close to blooming, and on the rocks we found butterwort, one of Minnesota’s carnivorous plants and some bird’s eye primrose blooming.