Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ghost Orchid Hunting 2014

Last Sunday, my dad and I randomly decided to take a drive out to the same spot as last year to look for ghost orchids.  We knew it was going to be a lot drier than last year but were shocked that it was completely dry except for a few puddles!  We were in the hammock about 10 minutes before I spotted this first ghost orchid of the day!  

I found it by looking on the same trees as last year that I had marked in my GPS.  I did notice, though, that it is much easier to find them by searching for the roots on the trees and then seeing if there is a bloom attached rather than searching for the flower to begin with.  We kept wandering around the hammock searching for more.  I heard some voices nearby and since we were in a "secret" location, we kept very quiet.  The silence was broken when I near screamed from realizing my foot was inches from a very angry Cottonmouth.

I jumped away and my dad just kept asking, "How did you even see it??"  It was just perfectly camouflaged.  I've had so many close encounters with snakes now that I'm very seriously going to purchase a pair of snake boots for expeditions like this one.  I finally calmed down and we were wandering further into the hammock when a man snuck up behind me and starting chanting fake Native American noises and saying "You may not enter!".  I quickly realized it was a hiking buddy of mine out there with 2 others from our group!  Five sets of eyes are better than two so collectively we started finding a ton of ghost orchids.  We found a lot of doubles and a lot of them were low to the ground to make for fantastic photographs!

After searching and finding so many, we decided to head out after some last pictures.  Our friends stayed behind and continued searching for ghost orchids and other rare flora.

Dad and me in front of an old growth cypress

                                                             Dingy star orchid

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