Monday, June 22, 2009

Green Swamp, NC, then off to Texas

I was surprised (and pleased) to open this month's issue of Backpacker magazine and discover a day hike here in Wilmington, NC, of which I had never heard...Green Swamp. Seems there are good examples of carnivorous plants in Green Swamp, including the Venus Fly Trap. The magazine names the hike as one of its "treks to lifelist phenomenom".

I was a bit skeptical at first, since I've tried to find these elusive specimens several times, with scant success. But, after looking at the Green Swamp website I was equipped with a better understanding of what to look for and encouraged by nice pictures. I was further prodded by claims that 95% of all Venus Fly Traps are located in North Carolina and that they were native only to the Carolinas. I have a few days before my return to Texas. And so, it was off with fellow intrepid explorer Gail to see what we could see.
On a macro scale, the trail was not particularly impressive. There were no grand views or old growth forests. No dramatic waterfalls or grizzlies. Just a series of grassy fields with a few pine trees scattered around. Here and there, there was a boardwalk through boggy areas with typical flora and fauna. Orchids and other native wildflowers dotted the fields, along with a few woodpeckers and deer.
But eventually, we realized that the impressive stuff here required getting onto your hands and knees and taking a smaller view. Underneath small flagging white blossoms we discovered the Venus Fly Trap.
A bit further along, we discovered grassy fields strewn with various varieties of carnivorous Pitcher plants.
Later, along the edge of a pond, we found the carnivorous Sundew.
Carnivorous plants trap and digest insects to supplement the nutrients from poor, swampy soil. So, the North Carolina swamps near Wilmington are perfect environments for them. I knew that, of course, but this is the first time that has resulted in the kind of viewing we saw at Green Swamp.
Ah, another check off the old life list?? I never thought of it quite that way, but I have been looking for them for a while and Green Swamp is well worth the time it takes to visit.
For those who follow me regularly, I mentioned that I'm soon heading back to Texas. I should arrive in time for the 4th of July weekend. Beyond that, my plans are a bit vague, but I plan to spend some time in various locales of Texas and there is talk about some backpacking in Wyoming and/or a cruise to Alaska with Jon.
Stay with me, my friends, the adventure continues.

No comments: