“I think it’s going to rain.” Brian said as he looked up at the sky through the canopy of pines. “What did you say the percentage was?”
I shrugged it off. “Twenty-five percent chance. I think we’ll be okay.”
“Are you sure you don’t want a rain jacket before we get too far from the car?”
I didn’t even have to consider the question. “No. If it rains, it rains.” The truth is, I didn’t want to get wet, but I also didn’t want to carry the damned thing around with me or wear it and get too hot. “Anyways, if it does rain, it’ll probably just be passing showers.”
Ignoring the sky, we set our Apple Watches to ‘Outdoor Walk’ and I started recording our route with AllTrails on my phone. After being cooped up inside all week, we were at the Sudbury Memorial Forest, and rain or shine, we were hiking.
The first thing we noticed was how lush and green everything was. We’d been here a month ago as the fiddleheads were just emerging, and the leaves on the trees were tender and new. Now, with all the rain Massachusetts has received, the forest was lush.
The second thing we noticed. . .
Lady Slippers everywhere!
I’ve been told that these temperate orchids are rare, but in the Memorial Forest they are abundant. Perhaps rare isn’t the word. Maybe fleeting. Like the fiddleheads, I think catching them at the right time is key. We caught them, alright.
Just a few minutes into the hike Brian stopped to take a few snaps of these gorgeous rhododendrons growing on the edge of a residential property line.
That’s when I notice the third thing. Mosquitos everywhere, hungry and aggressive. It would seem the plants aren’t the only things that have been loving all this rain. We doused ourselves in bug spray, even spritzing our hair and clothes (these little bloodsuckers weren’t being shy about biting right through cotton) and hoped for the best.
A few minutes later we encountered these gorgeous wild geraniums as we walked beside the Sudbury River. I especially love the veins through the petals and the way the purple contrasts against the green background of the forest.
One of the unique features of the Memorial Forest is The Desert. This area of glacially deposited sand is quite the departure from a typical Massachusetts landscape. It reminds me a lot of portions of Colorado, and to wander through the sand is almost ethereal. We decided this was a good place to stop for lunch and polish off a sandwich, until. . .
The rain started
This was not soft, misting rain, but the kind of fierce, soaking downpour that quickly ruins a picnic or thwarts a parade. Sandwiches in hand, we ran for the cover of the trees beyond The Desert and finished our meal laughing and dripping.
As I predicted, the shower passed quickly, and we continued on our way. The quick precipitation offered an opportunity to catch some ferns shining in the afterglow.
The rain proved to be our constant companion, dumping down for a few minutes off and on for the rest of our journey. Brian snapped some beautiful photos of lupine and what looks like buttercup. He also carefully leaned in to take this shot of what I’m pretty sure is blooming poison ivy; gorgeous but dangerous!
We wandered on for about five miles, and near the end of our trek encountered this little guy, who was definitely loving all the precipitation:
When we made it back to the car, slightly damp, I remarked that we’d only seen one other set of people the entire hike. It could have been the indecisive weather, or maybe the Memorial Forest is just a little hidden gem outside Boston waiting to be discovered. If you’re in the area, we’d highly recommend it. Thanks E and E for turning us on to this extraordinary preserve.
And of course to check out Brian’s awesome photography, click here or on the shop button at the top of the page/in the menu.
What do you think? Will you hike in the rain? Have you ever seen a Lady Slipper? Do you know of any hidden gems or secret places you like to go to escape the world for an afternoon? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks for reading,
Greg & Brian