The lupines have been spectacular this year in the Gobbler Ridge Clear Creek Knolls unit.
The purple–blue flowers are similar to pea flowers and they cannot be missed as they cover a tall stalk rising from the foliage.
Hiking is encouraged throughout this restored prairie, with access and parking found along the east side of Lowden Road, just south of Flagg Road. Hike east from the Clear Creek Knolls parking lot. Follow the lane as it curves north around Fame Flower knob and continue east as far as you can. Now you can probably view patches of the purple–blue spires jutting up throughout the prairie. To see them up–close, you will have to venture off–trail. Before hiking off–trail, you may want to read “What to expect off–trail” on our Hiking Guidelines website page.
Keep a look–out for wildlife, as this native flower attracts native bees, bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Deer might even be seen browsing on the foliage.
This is a showy native flower that you do not want to miss!
Today’s author is Dee Hudson, a photographer for Nachusa Grasslands. To see more prairie images, visit her website at www.deehudsonphotography.com.
Eugene Jones Baldwin
He is a journalist, fiction writer and blogger. He writes history pieces for the Alton Telegraph and is the author of "The Genehouse Chronicles," a collection of essays on nature, people and places along the Mississippi River.