Dutchman’s Breeches are supposed to be near the entrance to this trail,” said Brenda.’
“Here it is!”, yelled Hilda. We rushed over to take a look, and there was an abundance of foliage, “But, there aren’t any blooms,” she added sadly. We began looking it up in our books to make sure we had the right plant. It was the right foliage. “Let’s just keep looking,” Hilda said encouragingly.
In our search to find the Dutchman’s Breeches, we found, Jack in the Pulpit, Great Chick Weed, Garlic Mustard, purple, yellow and white Violets, purple Dead Nettle, May Apples galore, Bird Foot Violet, wild geraniums, and a variety of baby ferns just pulling their tight little heads out of it’s curl.
I was poking around and found the tiniest Jack in the Pulpit, I have ever seen. I noticed something white a distance away. “What’s that over there near that stump? It looks like Dutchman’s Breeches!” Brenda made haste to check it out, but it was just the end of a stick!
“Hey! Yelled Brenda, you won’t believe it, but here’s a plant with a bloom!” Hilda and I rushed over and sure enough there was stalk with two dried up blooms and one tiny perfect white bloom that looked just like a pair of Dutchman’s Breeches. You would have thought we had found a gold mine, as we oohed and aahd over the one tiny bloom. It was almost a miracle with all the many plants that were there, that we found only one tiny bloom. We figured God made it just for us! Since there was an abundance of plants, Hilda placed it gently into her wildflower book, marking the territory that it was found.
We checked out every inch of the area and jotted down all the in- formation in our book of the flowers we had seen and headed back to the car. Brenda said, “I was told that there are some burgundy colored Trillium in this area.” But in our search, we couldn’t even find pink ones.
As we made our way back down the narrow road toward the Parkway, I spotted some burgundy Trillium near the Fish Hatchery Road. We all missed them going in. I yelled to stop. We got out to view the perfect specimens. Non of us had seen Trilliums of this color before so Brenda took pictures and again we jotted down the sighting in our books.
“That was a real treat,” said Hilda. “And a bonus for the day,” added Brenda.
We relished in the sightings of the day as we drove down the Parkway. The evening was till young, so we took our time going back. We planned to stop and take a look at the Bleeding Heart that grows out of a rock near the Twenty Minute Overlook on the Parkway.
All of a sudden as we went around a bend there, in the middle of the road, was a beautiful bay horse. He was young and sleek, with his head held high and ears perked up, standing as still as a statue. Brenda braked quickly. We were overwhelmed at seeing a horse standing in the middle of the road with no saddle or anything to indicate that anyone had been riding him. He did have on a bridle. He walked slowly to the side of the road, stopped, and looked at us. Standing with his feet planted firmly in the grass, he did not move. We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t have a rope of any kind to capture him. None of us felt we had enough skill anyway to do that, so we just sat there until he moved. He took off trotting down the Parkway, thankfully on the side of the road, at a slow pace.
Brenda turned on her emergency blinkers. We all prayed a car wouldn’t hit him or cause an accident. Luckily, only a few cars passed, but they looked at us as if we were crazy herding this horse down the Parkway. We knew we were close to the Rock Cabin cutoff and decided if we could get him there, he might just stay there until we could get some help. Arriving at this cutoff, we found cars parked there for hikers and hoped some- one might be there that could help. Unfortunately, no one was there, but the horse stopped running and started to graze in the field of grass.
We made haste down to Love to a friend’s house to call a park ranger. Hilda was able to contact the Forest Department and they said they would get right on it.
We knew that some friends of ours in Love had horses, so Hilda called them to see if the horse be- longed to them. Getting an answer- ing service, she left a message. We had done all that we could do.
As we made our way home, the evening sun was setting, casting eerie shadows in the hollows of the mountains. We rehashed all the excitement of the day, praying that the horse would be rescued and not cause any accidents. They dropped me off at my house. It was almost dark.
That night, Brenda called and said the horse did belong to the family we called.
They had received our message when they got home making haste to the spot where Hilda said we left him. Sure enough he was still grazing there.
Some pretty remarkable circumstances surrounded the events of the day. I wondered if it was all circumstantial. One thing I learned through the events of the day, you never know what you might see on a wildflower hike!