Since I know a prairie changes from year to year, depending on weather and other environmental factors, and of course, the prairie changes from week to week in the same prairie, I brushed aside my concern, and I was ready to stop for my first visit of the year. I only planned to stop for a quick visit to take a few pictures for this article, but I ended up staying for much longer than planned.
Not only were the mid-summer bloomers showing their true colors, but the warm season grasses and late summer wildflowers were gearing up for their turn. There was a nice mix of pinks and purples, golds and yellows, whites, grasses, and I already mentioned the striking red of the Royal Catchfly. In addition to the plants, pollinators were buzzing around—bees, butterflies, and other insects were enjoying the nectar of dozens of wildflower species. Songbirds were chirping and flitting from plant to plant. I’m sure a host of unseen critters were also inhabiting the area as well.
All in all, my short trip to the Route 40 Rest Stop was a great opportunity to stop and rest by doing what I love to do—walking in nature and photographing plants. Even though it’s located right along the highway, it’s easy to block out the traffic and immerse yourself in nature. I only walked around the prairie to the north and east of the drive, but there is acreage to the south of the drive, too. This little prairie is worth the stop!