A showy lady's slipper wild orchid.

A showy lady’s slipper wild orchid.

This gorgeous May (June) afternoon here at the October Country Inn (check us out) found temperatures climbing into the low 70s.  The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and the Maples are about half leafed out.  One must take advantage of days like today, get out of the house and take a walk, go for a bike ride, or both.  We decided to take a walk.  Wild orchids start to appear about mid-May in this corner of Vermont.  So, off in search of wild orchids we went.  We don’t have to go far, Eschua Bog is known for its wild orchids and, is just a short drive from Woodstock Village.

trailEschua Bog is a 40 acre sanctuary jointly owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy and the New England Wildflower Society.  Technically a “fen”, this type of post-glacial wetland is fed by ground water rich in nutrients creating an especially unique habitat for many wetland plant species.  Carnivorous pitcher plants, sundews, and bladderworts share the bog with various varieties of wild orchids including the white bog orchid, green bog orchid, and the yellow and showy lady’s slipper

eb trailThe easily followed, family friendly loop trail is marked by trail signs, with little plaques placed alongside the trail to aid in identifying the many species of plants in the bog.  The trail circles eight acres of the wetlands.  It can be easily walked in 20 minutes.  A boardwalk passes through the heart of the bog, and is the ideal place to get a closer look at the bog inhabitants.  This area is very fragile and visitors are asked to only walk on the trails and boardwalk, leave all plants, flowers, and seeds undisturbed, and to please leave pets at home.  Dogs can easily damage this sensitive area, and bring invasive plant seeds in on their fur and paws.

To get to Eschua Bog from the October Country Inn, proceed east on Route 4.  After passing through the heart of Woodstock eb mapVillage, Route 4 takes a hard turn to the left at the Maplefields convenience store.  Go straight ahead at this point on to Hartland Hill road.  Follow Hartland Hill road for about 1.5 miles.  Turn right onto Garvin Hill road and follow this dirt road for about a mile.  You will come to another road that forks off to the right.  Just past this fork you will see a small turnoff parking area on the right.  Eschua Bog signs will let you know you’re in the right place.  The trail is obvious.  A small kiosk houses an interpretive brochure to guide you, and asks you to leave the brochure in the kiosk when you leave.