Elk Viewing is Outstanding
The recent ice storm has focused elk in into Boxley Valley. Elk viewing is arguably the best so far in 2013 with 6 herds in view and straggler elk, mostly bulls, here and there elsewhere. With so many elk in the valley they probably will move around quite a bit to compete for grazing fields. Remember the bull elk will have their antlers at least another month.
Early Wildflowers Weathered the Ice Storm
The ice storm did little to damper the wildflower bloom in Boxley Valley's Lost Valley hiking trail. White trout lilies are the star of this early bloom. Yesterday there were at least 5 times as many lilies blooming compared to just a few days prior. If I had to project a peak for the white trout lilies in Lost Valley, it would be the first two weekends of March. There may be another snow storm coming Tuesday, but these tough wildflowers will bounce back quickly.
It is time to get here if you want to see or photograph white trout lilies. The very best place I know of is just across the bridge at Lost Valley hiking trail and to the left. There is a rock field in the woods just past the fire pit. Stay on the trail, but look carefully and you will see these flowers among the moss covered rocks. They will be gone in 2-3 weeks. If you miss them at Lost Valley, Smith Creek Preserve also has a bloom and it runs roughly 1 or 2 weeks later. http://smithcreekpreserve.com for directions, maps and more information.