A few years ago, I began making an annual pilgrimage to the Charles Allen Nature Preserve near Columbia to see trillium in bloom. I love them! So beautiful and so ephemeral. The window for seeing them is short.

Trillium (Trillium sp.)

This year, in part because we have not been able to get together much, it occurred to me to invite y’all to come along. We will be outdoors. I am happy to wear a mask outdoors if that will make you more comfortable. We can physically distance without a problem.

So…. Saturday, February 13, is the day. The entrance to the Charles Allen Nature Preserve is on Fisher Road, a bit south and east of Columbia. There’s a map below because I do not believe your phone GPS will recognize that name. Meet me there. I will get there at 9:45 a.m. and plan to head into the woods at 10 a.m.

In fact, there’s not a lot of parking at the entrance and Fisher Road doesn’t have much in the way of shoulders, so if you are comfortable carpooling with someone or meeting someone in Columbia and just carpooling the short distance out to the site, that would be good. There’s a school along the route through Columbia and leaving a car there would be easy.

Hiking in the preserve is not extremely difficult but it does involve somewhat steep climbing on layers of leaves and pine straw for short distances. Wear suitable shoes. After we’ve seen the trillum, we’ll hike to the river overlook for a fab view. I estimate we will be in the woods for about two hours.

In addition to trillium, we will see red buckeye just starting to bloom and, if we look carefully, perhaps violets in bloom and crane fly orchid leaves, which I plan to mark with plastic tape so we can come back in August and look for flowers.

And who knows what else? I have invited Dr. Charles Allen, after whom the place is named. He didn’t promise but he said he’d try to come. If he makes it, I promise, you will get an impromptu lesson in native plants of Louisiana.

I have also invited the CenLa Master Naturalists and… this is a family fun day! Your kids old enough to hike are welcome! And bring a friend.

Directions from Monroe: Drive south on Hwy 165. Shortly after crossing the Ouachita River into Columbia, turn left onto Church St. Go 4 blocks and turn right onto Boatner St. Go one block and turn left onto Fisher Rd. Fisher Rd. goes straight to the edge of the swamp (Brandon Lake) then curves right, as you can see on the map. From the intersection of Fisher Rd. and Boatner St, it’s about 2.5 miles to the entrance to the Preserve.

If you have trouble finding the place, call me: 318-372-8117.

2 thoughts on “Trillium Walk

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