Yesterday afternoon I filled my water bottle and put it in the fridge to cool, and then charged my camera battery. You see, I was hoping that when M. woke from his nap, he would want to go on an impromptu adventure. I had seen a friend's Instagram photos of the KU Native Medicinal Plants Research gardens and looked it up online for directions. So at about six o'clock last night we jumped in the car and headed out to see this place. We were the only ones out there. I was glad I had my sunglasses and wished I'd worn my hair in a pony tail because it was rather warm, and breezy. But it was not unbearable. It was quite nice really. We wandered around reading the small signs identifying the plants, and reading about their uses. There were varieties we were familiar with, like the echinaceas, mints, prairie coneflowers, moonflower, milkweed, etc., and some that were new. One of my favorites was the spiky rattlesnake master, which we read, had been used to treat snake bites, and the fibers from the leaves had also been used to make sandals. M. spent time reading about the different plants while I tootled about taking pictures and tried to zero in on butterflies visiting the blooms. As we got in the car to leave, we saw a bird which we think was a kind of sparrow, but rather slim looking. We wished we had brought our Kansas bird book. Then in my rear view mirror, I spotted a big fuzzy caterpillar making its way rather hastily across the dusty gravel drive. I waited till it was out of the way before backing out.
Then we continued heading north until we reached trails heads at the KU Field Station. M. wanted to see the entrance of the trails, which had a rammed earth structure made by KU students. Whenever we look at buildings of any sort I can always see the wheels turning in his head, as he mulls over how it was made, the materials used, the labor involved, the quality, etc. I admired the color layers in the walls, watched giant buzzards swirl above, and then walked up to the trail heads and discovered a water fountain. The water tasted sweet to me. We then walked part of the Roth trail which meandered through tree canopy. I noticed it was much greener than it was last year, when we walked trails around Clinton Lake. And there was certainly no shortage of poison ivy, my nemesis. But the trails were well maintained so there was no real danger unless you were crazy enough to venture off. We passed a few birders positioned patiently on a bridge, whose cameras were well equipped with zoom lenses. We continued up the path that zig zagged a bit, and spotted wild gooseberry, blackberry, and black raspberry plants, as well as fading pink roses, and mayapple plants. Soon we thought we'd better turn around. It was getting late, and we had garden sugar snaps at home that we need to de-string, blanch, and freeze. And we hadn't eaten dinner.
I'd like to go back to these trails when we can schedule more time. But it was nice to take a brief adventure in our "own backyard", if just for a couple hours, and see new sights.