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 found temperatures climbing into the low 70s.  The bright sun, and blue sky, coach the Maples to leaf 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 famous for its wild orchids. And is just a short drive from Woodstock Village.

Eschua Bog is a truly unique habitat.

Visitors stroll the elevated trail.Eschua 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.   This creates an especially unique habitat for many wetland plant species.  There are carnivorous pitcher plants, sundews, and bladderworts.  They 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

There are many rare plants here.

Map of the Eschua Bog.The 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.  It’s the ideal place to get a closer look at the bog inhabitants.  This area is very fragile. Visitors should only walk on the trails and boardwalk.  Leave pets at home to leave all plants, flowers, and seeds undisturbed.  Dogs can easily damage this sensitive area.  They can also introduce invasive plant seeds on their fur and paws.

It’s within 10 minutes from Woodstock.

To get to Eschua Bog from the October Country Inn, proceed east on Route 4.  After passing through the heart of Woodstock Map of how to get to the Eschua Bog.Village, 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.