A simple hike at Great Hollow is never boring. Like a few weeks ago when Andy and I saw a wild mink on the trail. Yesterday we took some friends on a short welcome tour through the Hollow, in the bright sunshine and the lush landscape of August. The river was lower than usual, but crystal clear, showing off the water-polished stones and the wriggly little fish on their way to somewhere important.
The landscape smells so peculiar now, with odd notes of sharp citronella-lime from the Walnut trees, and various loamy wood aromas from fallen trees and animal homes.
By the bridge we spotted this beauty – our Native Lobelia cardinalis, or Cardinal flower. A sister to the blue flowering Lobelia inflata, both species have been used by Native American as a remedy for lung ailments, usually as a tea or chewed fresh. The latter inflata species is also called ‘pukeweed’, as a reminder not to eat the seeds unless you need a fast emetic. One leaf however, can be chewed for it’s pungent taste to alleviate a headache or congestion in the throat. A carrier of alkaloids, you’d want to stop there. Dinner can be harvested around the corner in the giant Nettles patch!