Kentucky wildflowers. {an adventure}

Ever gone on a wildflower expedition on a day when severe thunderstorms are expected?  If not, I highly recommend it.

Let me preface this post with this: If you have a dislike of spring, unique wildflowers, nature, or the color green- this post is not for you.  If any of these things sound like music to your ears, then feast your eyes on God’s natural beauty below.

My Dad and I made a trip from Cincy down to Southern Kentucky where my Grandma lives, with the hopes of doing some trout fishing and wildflower hunting.  When we heard that huge thunderstorms were expected last weekend, we decided we would still try with the wildflowers, and headed South last Friday night….just me and my Dad.

Saturday morning at 7am my Dad woke me up and said we had to get moving.  Judging by the weather channel, we had a couple early morning hours before the storms picked up.  I rolled out of bed, and we were quickly on our way.

There are so many things I would have loved to photograph…we were trying to rush, and we didn’t have as much time as we would have liked.

Our hope was to find COLOR.  We made that our focus.

We began in Grandma’s back yard.  My Dad found this gorgeous trumpet vine growing on her shed and we weren’t sure if it was wild or not.  Sure enough Grandma said that my Grandfather found it a long time ago in the woods, dug it up, and planted it back there.

Then we began driving and exploring.  If we saw something on the road, we got out and took some shots.  Here is a wild Columbine we found.

Love these little sweeties, but don’t know their name (anyone know?).

We then began our descent to Yahoo Falls.

Along the way we saw so much beauty.  These are beautiful purple Trillium.

Indian Paintbrush were scattered here and there….

This unique flower is a Jack-In-The-Pulpit.  By the way, my Dad knew the name of everyone of these flowers and taught me. :)

Even though it was about 9 in the morning, it was getting darker and darker as the clouds rolled in.

My Dad shot using his ring flash.  I thought this shot was cute. ;)

Then we made it down to the beautiful falls.

My Dad walking behind the falls.

Loved the pattern of this leaf canopy overhead.

After we left that area and drove on, the rain began.  We didn’t let it stop us.  We continued looking for new types of wildflowers, and my Dad was especially in search of a rare wildflower called a Yellow Lady Slipper.

Driving in the pouring rain and looking out the car window for flowers can be challenging…but we had no where else we needed to be, and we had the “Sinatra” XM Radio station to keep us company. :)  So we pressed on.

My eyes had been scanning the sides of the road for yellow.  THEN I SAW IT!

My Dad pulled up next to it and said it wasn’t the lady slipper, but another Trillium, of the yellow variety this time.  Drats.

Now I was determined.  We spotted flowers here and there, driving around in the rain- stepping out to shoot on occasion in few-second intervals.

I took this shot over my Dad and out his window of more Indian Paintbrush growing off the hillside.

Then we saw this narcissistic little turtle crawling down the street, begging for a portrait.  I graciously obliged.

We also saw an owl in the road which flew off as soon as we approached.  My Dad suspected the animal world was acting wacky, sensing that a big storm front was rolling in.

Supposedly, rumor has it, that when I turned my head my Dad saw a small black “panther” like cat race across us.   Well, it began as a weasel or mink, and grew to a panther. ;)

This was a wild trumpet vine that was so vibrant.

By this point it was really raining and was so dark out (I had my camera up to 32oo iso).

We saw this gorgeous tall and slender tree that resembled a Magnolia or something in the Rhododendron family.  If anyone out there knows the name of this tree, would you mind commenting and sharing?

We were driving along and I screamed, “STOP!  Back up! I FOUND IT!!!”  I cannot repeat all that my Dad said at that point, something like “You gotta be sh**ing me.”  I got out and pointed to a yellow spot through the woods….

It was it!  The yellow Lady Slipper wildflower.  As I looked over the hillside, I found another, and another, and another.

I waded through what seemed like a field of poison ivy, and pouring rain, to try to get up close to this sucker.

I make no claims to how this flower ended up following us home….but I can assure you, the plant itself was not harmed in any way (don’t kill me Green Peace!).  My Daddy’s 93 yr. young mama needed to see what we found.

Please excuse how utterly “tres chic” I look after wandering through thunderstorms.

I thought this picture was cute.  See that little wallet photo by the vase?  My Senior photo. ;)

Rain and all, my Dad and I had a great time taking a little breather from every day life, and just exploring for the fun of it.  :)  Can’t wait to do it again.

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May 7, 2010 - 1:03 pm

Barb - Breathtaking! Thank you for sharing those. And you look beautiful as usual, almost as beautiful as your grandma!

May 7, 2010 - 1:04 pm

Clary - Awesome post Jess!! You and your dad are so cute. AND that flower is so pretty. A past bride had Lady Slippers in her bouquet and they instantly caught my eye because there is nothing like them. They are even prettier in the wild and on your grandma’s dresser.

May 7, 2010 - 2:27 pm

Melody - Ok…seriously! Love this! This is something I have done with my dad on numerous occasions…some of my favorite times together! Looking through your pictures brought back so many memories and familiarities (being from southern Ohio). Craziness! The more I read, the more I see what Amanda Reynolds (a dear friend of mine) is talking about…she said I would love you because we are all so alike. I am beginning to see what she is talking about. Hopefully, our paths will cross sometime. ;)

May 7, 2010 - 2:53 pm

William R. Wallace - The waterfalls is named Yahoo Falls. It is the tallest in the state of Ky at 117 feet. It has been estimated by anthropologists that as many as 1000 Hopewell Indians lived in the area under and around the falls. It is one of God’s most beautiful cathedrals. Go there someday….sit still….listen….you will be amazed

May 7, 2010 - 4:45 pm

holly - wow! you and priya look just alike, judging by the senior photo! :)

May 7, 2010 - 5:21 pm

Julianna Collett - the story and the images are truly beautiful!

May 7, 2010 - 5:48 pm

gina - how wonderful WONDERFUL that you spent this time with your father.

May 8, 2010 - 6:58 am

Krista - What a wonderful little story! I love when there are times spent with just my Dad and I…priceless! I am so inspired by your work, Thank you :)

May 8, 2010 - 9:41 am

jess w. - Glad you guys had a great time, probably a trip you’ll never forget. Looks like the Lady Slipper was worth the search! Really cool spiral leaves on that thing.

May 8, 2010 - 10:32 am

lucy - love these pics jess! they are so pretty. what a neat time with your daddy.

May 8, 2010 - 11:00 am

Donna - What a wonderful trip…I am not sure if I have ever spent a day alone with just me and my dad!!! But it is on my “35 List” for this year…so I better get that scheduled! Happy Saturday!

May 8, 2010 - 12:13 pm

Eliza - I have always found that will a camera in hand the beauty of the world is impossible to miss.

May 8, 2010 - 12:32 pm

Amber - This particular post makes me very happy!! I couldn’t even stop smiling as I was looking and the pictures and reading the comments!

May 9, 2010 - 8:49 pm

meredith - I’d so love if my dad would do something like that with me.. He’s more the silent-unless-grunting type :) My mom, however, has inspired in me an intense love of all things botanical.

The magnolia/rhododendron plant is actually a Mountain Laurel. I think it may be a wild rhododendron. And the delicate little 4-petal cornflower ones in picture 4 are bluets. They used to grow all over the woods behind my house when I was little. I picked em all the time for my mama :)

I loved these pictures so, so much..

May 10, 2010 - 8:19 am

Rachel B. - I totally love this! This is my kind of adventure! I love all of the saturated greens in these photos and I can’t tell you how happy that shot of the owl makes me. So neat! I took photos of wild columbine a few weeks back and I didn’t know what it was, so thank you for telling me.

And I was on the same mission last year to find out what that tree that resembles a magnolia was. I never found out. I wish that I could help! Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us. I love traveling vicariously! It spurs me to have my own adventures.

May 10, 2010 - 3:37 pm

betsy - This post BLOWS my mind. Seriously. I have so much I could learn from you regarding slowing down and looking at things closer up….or even far away.

Thank you for sharing this!

May 11, 2010 - 12:08 pm

barb francek - wow. that is really cool that you and your dad are close enough to chase thunderstorms and elusive beautiful flowers. whereabouts were you, in south of cincinnati? lovely, lovely, lovely.

May 11, 2010 - 1:07 pm

Belle - “Our hope was to find COLOUR” .. and you did. Totally awesome pictures. Nature and thunderstorms. Utterly breathtaking. Thank you :)

May 13, 2010 - 6:41 am

Ralf - Got here from ProPhoto Blogs…love this post. Thanks for sharing this!

June 11, 2010 - 10:12 am

Rebecca - this post just made my whole day–so much gorgeous flower love! wild ladyslippers & trillium–nothing compares!

July 11, 2010 - 9:55 pm

Dori Becker - These pictures are so beautiful! I love the wildflowers, too. Camp Butterworth (Girl Scouts) has a wildflower garden (more like acreage) that I used to love to walk when I was there camping. It’s worth the trip to go see it, near Mason. Thanks for the lovely walk through the woods!!

June 3, 2011 - 11:01 am

awake my soul. | studio3z photography :: Cincinnati Wedding Photographers :: Destination Wedding Photographers - [...] year my Dad and I began a tradition. The two of us went down to Stearns, Kentucky where my 94 years-young grandmother lives. My Dad ran [...]

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