The lack of hikers gave us time to:
* Get a lot of botany lessons in.
* Learn more about the past history of the park.
* Visit some of the favorite backcountry camping spots.
* Pick up lots of litter.
* Work on the ongoing development of the Old Rag Mountain Steward(ORMS) program.
During the next couple of weeks the Lady Slippers will be blooming, the morels will have most likely passed and the Mountain Laurel buds will be preparing to blossom.
NPS WILDFLOWER WEEKEND
In many parts of the country Lady Slippers are either at risk, endangered or extinct. Old Rag is blessed with quite a few Lady Slippers and they should be blooming in the next couple of weeks.
Enjoy them in place.
DO NOT PICK, DO NOT DISTURB THE SOIL AROUND THEM AND ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TRY TO TRANSPLANT THEM BECAUSE YOU WILL ONLY KILL THEM.
There has been some evidence to indicate that each orchid is dependent not only on a fungus but on both the specific species of fungus and the specific strain of that species that exist in the soil where it grows. The slightest amount of change in soil chemistry can cause the fungus that the Lady Slipper is dependent on to die. Also Lady Slipper roots spread laterally and are extremely long and extremely brittle, and if any of the roots are broken in the process, the plant dies. It is virtually impossible to move the plant without breaking the roots. Hence successful transplanting is almost impossible. If by some miracle you can transplant the plant without breaking a root then it is almost a certainty that the fungus the plant is dependent on will die followed by the death of the plant.
Many mushrooms including false morels are toxic. Even though morels are fairly easy to identify make sure you know what you are doing. If you use a mesh bag (like an old onion bag) than any spores released during your search will be distributed around in the woods.
THE SNP NPS WEB PAGE ON MUSHROOMS
THE GREAT MOREL WEB SITE
ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE WOULD SEEM TO INDICATE THAT THE NUMBER OF RAIN DROPS AND THE NUMBER OF HIKERS ARE INVERSELY RELATED
WITH ALL THE RECENT RAIN THIS MOSS GLOWED WITH VIBRANT HEALTH.