The purple/maroon spikes you saw coming up out of the ground is skunk cabbage. This funny looking plant sprouts out of the ground in very early spring when there is usually still snow on the ground. Skunk cabbage is actually very cool because it makes its own heat that melts the snow around it! This way it can be one of the first plants above the snow. It has the name skunk cabbage because when a leaf gets crushed it smells like a skunk. (Learn more about this topic in our Naturalist Blog!)