Monday, October 12, 2009
Walking Through Golden Light
Today dawned cold and clear and still. And darn! I wish I'd been there. I slept late today, then wasted the morning's glory reading the papers and running errands. By the time my husband and I headed out, the sky had clouded completely over. But never mind. At this time of year, whatever the weather, a walk in the woods is like walking through golden light.
Let's try a new trail at Moreau, I urged, and so we chose what's called the Red Oak Ridge Trail, which traverses the side of a mountain for a mile or so, then leads down to the lake for a walk along the shoreline back to our car. Although the trail is called Red Oak, the predominant trees are hickory and beech and maple, all of which turn a glorious shade of yellow in autumn. The understory trees -- Striped Maple and Witch Hazel, mostly -- echo that sunny color at lower levels. It struck me today as I looked about, that all the trees and shrubs up here were native species, not a single barberry or burning bush or buckthorn to be found.
I think all that sunny color put my husband in a sunny mood.
The trail starts at the road, then heads up a mountain but soon levels off to follow a ridge, craggy outcrops of bedrock rising to one side, the forest floor falling off steeply to the other. We crossed over several falling streams, enjoying the sound of the water singing among the rocks. There was one dark passage through hemlocks before we entered a luminous open woods, where old-growth pines and golden-leaved hardwoods towered high above us (see photo at top of this post). One steepish ascent had me huffing and puffing a little, but mostly the trail moved gently up and down before an equally steep descent to the lake.
There are many different trails in Moreau Lake State Park, and I've traveled a number of them, some up into the mountains, others along the river or around the lake and ponds. It amazes me how each one has a completely different feel, although each one has its own charms. What a treasure we have in this splendid park, with so many opportunities to experience the natural beauty of its woods and waterways.