Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mysteries Along the Trail

On the trail walk with Sue and Lindsey yesterday (see last post), I found a number of oddments that puzzled me much. These were things I couldn't ID or explain, and in some ways I'm glad for that. It's good to have a few mysteries lurking out there. But if any of my readers are familiar with these finds, please chime in with comments we all can learn from.

These little blobs of clear red resin were stuck to a standing dead tree that had been de-barked and tunneled by some kind of beetles. The stuff was hard, like someone had spit out chunks of red Lifesaver and they stuck to the tree. So maybe that is what happened? Nah, I really doubt it.

Here's some really orange moss, growing on the vertical face of a boulder along a shaded part of the trail. There was regular old green moss on the same boulder, but this stuff captured my attention. I've seen sphagnum mosses of all colors, but this doesn't look like sphagnum.

When we reached the shore of Lake George, we wandered around the park that overlooks the southern end of the lake, the site of several battles during the French-Indian wars before the American Revolution. The rocky outcroppings here are quite amazing, in some places the bedrock split like pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. I wondered what kind of cataclysm could have shattered the bedrock like that. There were also these outcroppings of snow-white rock with what seemed an almost sugary texture. Is it some kind of marble? There were a number of deep round holes, a few inches across, ground into the rock. What could have made them?

I never would have noticed these baby Serviceberry leaves if Sue hadn't pointed them out to me. Sue's a disciple of Henry David Thoreau and knows every word he ever wrote (it seems to me) and so she remembered him talking about how the Serviceberry tree puts out these brand new leaves just as all other trees are dropping theirs. What a brave little tree! Will these leaves stay viable through our long frozen winter, or will they drop off and the tree put forth new ones come the spring? (If you click on this photo, you can see the leaves have their warm woolies on.)


squirrel said...

I love your curosity. The red stuff does look like candy, perhaps gummy bears. Just kidding. I have not seen anything like them. I do hope you update your blog when you find out.

That orange moss is also new to me. Are you sure it is a moss and not a fungi? Do they have moss leaves? It is hard to tell in the photo. Odd stuff.

The rock is probably a sand stone of some sort. We have Tuscaroa sandstone around here and it is like sugar. The holes look like the kind that are drilled to take core samples or to add explosives. I couldn't tell if they were perfectly round.

Thanks you for the Serviceberry information. I'm going to check mine out as soon as I get home tomorrow night before it gets dark. I loved your description. I love learning from you. I'll be back to see you if you have found good answers to your questions. Sorry I not any help.

catharus said...

Interesting note about the Serviceberry (Sarvice, Shad). Hmm....I've never noticed that before, and I can say the one in my back yard doesn't do I wonder what that's all about...(???)
Very interesting...

Ellen Rathbone said...

HM...was the rock with the holes near water? Could they be bore holes from rocks spinning in the tummult of a stream/river some time in the past? You see these at Natural Stone Bridge and Caves and also near Little Falls, where there is a state park (I think it's state) on an island (Moss Island) that is famous for its potholes.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Hello Squirrel, catharus, and Ellen. Thanks for stopping by and letting my know you called.

I appreciate your attempts to solve these mysteries. You may very well be right in every case, but I may never know.

The moss is not a fungal growth, but plant-like, with leaves. If you click on the photo you should be able to see some detail. I admit the photo is not in perfect focus. The woods where this grew was very dark and I didn't use a tripod.

That rock is indeed near water: Lake George is maybe a hundred yards away. I have seen the kettle holes made by stones spinning in water currents. These holes seem too small. Nor do they look like the perfectly round holes drilled to insert explosives. But Lord knows there were many explosives used at this site during the French-Indian and Revolutionary Wars.

Anyway, it's fun to have some mysteries remain mysterious.