A Price Worth Paying (part 3 of 3)
July 27th, 2017
, Part 2
It was near sunset when the best part of my day happened. It started with
Abandon all hope of trail maintenance...
Okay, so turn back. It's time to get going anyway, get back to the car before
dark...but there was just something so alluring about it. The flooded trail
was somehow beautiful, beckoning. So I continued on, hoping that my shoes were
as waterproof as they were advertised to be.
That continuing brought me to a colony of Showy Ladyslippers like nothing I'd
ever seen. Not like the short, lonely, pale one I'd seen earlier, these were
two feet tall, vividly colored and blossomed in clusters. There was nothing
about them that would have been out of place in the most extravagant
cultivated garden (if not for the fact that wild orchids almost never survive
in gardens.) To stumble across such a sight alone, unaided, in the middle of
nowhere...well, it's hard to do justice to it. The best I can put it is,
imagine finding out that unicorns are real.
A relevant quote from Wildflowers of Ontario
I'm not entirely convinced that this is a rare flower. The habitat which it
prefers is simply not accessible to many people. [...] The only sane way to
actually scout out this flower is to wear a bug jacket, a mosquito net over
your head and latex gloves on your hands. I have never been bitten when I
dress this way. I have, however, been accompanied by thousands of thirsty
little mosquitoes as I look for this orchid. And that pretty well explains why
most people have never seen a Showy Lady's Slipper, but it's worth the effort.