Saturday, October 10, 2009
Another Climb Through the Cliffs
When my husband saw the photos of my hike through some cliffs last week, he asked me to take him there. So today, when the sun broke through after lunch, we headed up to Moreau State Park, and up the Spring Trail off of Spier Falls Road we went. It's hard with photos to give a good sense of the stark vertical thrust of the rock where the cliffs begin. For one thing, you can't see them from a distance because they are hidden by trees until you suddenly come upon them, making your way through the pathless woods and clambering over the giant boulders that lie in scrambled heaps at their base. Then all at once, there they are.
Some of the ledges hold huge protruding boulders that loomed over our heads as we passed underneath.
Our footing among the rocks was tricky, with fallen leaves hiding the holes where a foot could plunge through. But the way was truly beautiful today, strewn as it was with brilliant maple leaves and bordered with Sharp-leaved Asters and other forest floor plants.
Tiny springs watered the rocks in spots, creating a habitat for mosses and lichens. Sometimes we came across patches of color so vivid and lovely we hardly could believe our eyes.
In one place where a spring sheeted water over the sheer vertical surface of a wall, the iron in the rock had oxidized, painting that wall a handsome barn red.
Rounding the cliffs, we made our way up a steep wooded bank to the Hudson overlook, and were rewarded for our efforts by a spectacular view.
But even the view along the path was spectacular, the forest floor resplendent with colorful shrubs.
There is no other shrub in the woods that shares the remarkable color of the Maple-leaved Viburnum.
The green and yellow leaves of these baby Chestnut Oaks set off the viburnum's color splendidly.
We found a number of patches of Trailing Arbutus with leathery green leaves. Those leaves will stay green all winter under the snow and help to shelter the tiny white flowers that bloom before almost all others, come the spring.
As we headed down the trail to go home, the lowering sun flooded the mountainside with brilliant light. When it fell on this Sugar Maple, rather than being shaded by the tree's golden leaves, that light was intensified.