My Vermont sojourn always includes at least one mountain hike. The spectacular views of rolling green mountains and blue glacial lakes are worth the effort, but my real purpose for climbing up the rocks is my annual search for the elusive Lady Slipper orchids (Cypripedium acaule). Known as "Les Sabots de la Vierge" (the Virgin's clogs) by the Québecois, the French name reflects both the earthiness and the ethereal power of these North American orchids. Lady Slippers are terrestrial orchids, their rhizomes growing in the top layer of soil, so I have to hunt along the ground to find them. The sudden discovery of a blossom in a shaft of sunlight has the effect of an apparition, especially when it's one of the ghostly white ones (Cypripedium acaule f. alba). Vermont, like all the East Coast, had an especially harsh winter this year, so blooming started later. I hunted in the familiar places without success but was surprised to find flowers where I had never seen them before (this ritual has been going on for years). Once I discovered a blossom, I got down on my knees to begin photographing, an activity not unlike the reverence of a pilgrim worshiping at a shrine.