June 06, 2021

Highlights From Our Early June Hikes


I generally walk/hike at least a couple of miles each day, no matter the weather. My best friend usually joins me; but sometimes I'm on my own. He's a great trooper, and now that he's a little more mature (2 1/2 years), he's very patient when Mom stops to take photos. We take breaks in the shade on very hot days, like we've had for the past week.

No matter what stage of the growing season, there are always interesting plants. But I'm always quite curious about the blooming and developing plants during the transitions between seasons.

As we move from spring to summer, some native plants are winding down, though still beautiful.

Geranium maculatum

false solomon's seal
Maianthemum racemosum

shooting star
Dodecatheon meadia

The Geraniums and Shooting Stars have been particularly stunning this year. Other common natives are just hitting their stride.

Baptisia alba

baptisia field
Prairie filled with B. alba

bf iris
Iris versicolor

Anemone canadensis

Zizia aurea
(Interesting beetles!)

Asclepias syriaca
(Do you see the monarch egg?)

Arnica spp.

Yarrow millefolium

Potentilla simplex

Viburnum dentatum

The insects are fun; I love all the flies, caterpillars, and bees.

In a couple of weeks, the fruity snacks along our paths will be ripe.

Rubus occidentalis

Rubus allegheniensis?

I'm looking forward to that refreshment!

I also usually notice plenty of nonnative, invasive plants.

Hieracium aurantiacum

dames rocket
Hesperis matronalis

Heracleum sphondylium?

While problematic, it's hard to deny the beauty of many invasive plants; if only they wouldn't take over.

We also frequently encounter wildlife during our hikes. Fortunately, the pup wasn't with me when a family of geese walked right up to me.

geese 1

geese 2

geese 3

The papa hissed at me, but when he backed off and re-entered the pond, I snapped a few photos of the goslings.

Every encounter with wildlife is special, but we try to give them space (the telephoto lens helps).

red-bellied woodpecker
Red-bellied woodpecker

rs purple
Red-spotted purple


Every hike is fascinating, fun, and a new, unique adventure!


  1. Great photos today. That Viceroy looks apprehensive, though!

    1. Thank you. I think the Viceroy had a damaged hind wing; perhaps that's why. I've expected to see more butterflies on our hikes; hopefully the numbers will increase soon.

  2. What wonderful hikes you have! I love all the wildflowers, especially the Dodecatheon. The critters are a joy to see as well.

    1. There are so many wonderful places to hike here, including city and county parks, state parks, dog parks, and nature areas. I feel so fortunate.

  3. I love your photos. Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you, Betty. It's so fun to see the views, the plants, and the wildlife. :)

  4. Beth, this is a beautiful and informative post. What wonderful treats to see along your route. Is that prairie where the baptisia is growing private land or public? I can't imagine what it would look like to pass by that every day. Lovely.

    1. Thanks, Susie. These are all public parks, free to all. The prairie you're mentioning borders a biking/hiking trail, which connects with paths/trails that run throughout the county, including the city of Madison.

  5. Wow, that's a beautiful early June! congratulations on finding a great hiking companion :)

    1. June is a favorite month (of mine) here, although I enjoy all the months, in one way or another (except February). Yes, Nicky is keeping me in shape. I wouldn't walk as much in winter without him. I even enjoy it (except in February). ;-)

  6. I so enjoy your outstanding beautiful mix of native plants/flowers!
    I like your companion too!

    1. Thank you, Lynne. It's always fun to visit new and familiar places in different seasons. :)

  7. What a wonderful hike and your companion is darling. I recognize some of these beauties, but many are new to me. Are these hikes near to where you live, either in walking or short driving distance?

    1. Nicky is a good guy. These are all public places. Some are within walking distance, but then I'd spend the time walking there. ;-) All very short drives. The Madison parks are amazing. Lots of green space, which is good because there's too much development going on around here.

  8. Every walk we take is fun even if I grouse about having to get out to do it. Love seeing you pictures.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. Yes, I've even enjoyed winter more now that I have a dog. :)

  9. Wow - what a wonderful hike! Once I finally make it out to Madison (2022, fingers crossed!!), you'll have to let me know where it is so that I can finally experience it in person.

    1. There were a few places included in this post...I'd be happy to share the locations. :)

  10. Fantastic photos. We walk just about everyday too and in all kinds of weather. ;-)
    Speaking of the weather.. it is so upside down. We hit 100 degrees June 4th and 5th! Way to hot for June. My peony have no idea what is going on.. it will be a short season for them, that is for sure.

    1. Thanks! Yes, it has been a messed-up spring/early summer. We are still in a moderate drought. Thankfully, we are a little cooler now, so my watering won't dry up so fast. Looks like the long-term forecast might offer more rain. Fingers crossed.

  11. I enjoyed going along on your hike. That Potentilla simplex, is that barren strawberry? Looking forward to hiking together in person next month.

    1. I think some of the Potentilla species are called "false strawberry" or "barren strawberry." Yes, I'm looking forward to our gathering at Chiwaukee Prairie!

  12. Shooting stars are elaborately beautiful flowers

    1. Yes, they are! It's a joy to see them each spring. :)

  13. Beth what beautiful native plants you seen and taken wonderful photos of. I really enjoy seeing what you have seen on your hike .. the geranium, shooting stars, iris, anemone are my favorite .. I did see the eggs on the leaf ! .. those little beetles have me curious.
    I have false strawberries trying to form in quite a few places and have seen the fruit which surprised me a lot. I love that you were able to snap pictures of the geese and goslings .. how cute can it get ? LOL It truly is a wonderful adventure to see so much of nature, just ticking along the way it should.

    1. Thank you. :) I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful places near home to hike. The county I live in is very good about setting aside park land and natural areas.

  14. What an idyllic area to hike in, and what a darling boy to share it with.


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