Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Red Oak Ridge Scramble

Another balmy day on Monday, but sadly, I had to spend the glorious morning attending the funeral of my dear friend Elaine. We had spent many happy times together at Pyramid Lake, up in Essex County, and I thought about spending the afternoon up there in memory of her. But the clouds had moved in by noon, so I opted to take a walk in Moreau Lake State Park instead, choosing the Red Oak Ridge Trail that runs along a mountainous ridge overlooking the lake.

This beautiful trail has it all, woods-wise, with dramatic rocky outcroppings, meandering musical streams, little waterfalls tumbling among rocks and ferns, open sunlit maple-oak-hickory woods, and dark moody hemlock stands, where the shadows stay dark all year.

Among those hemlocks grow two enormous giants that tower above all the rest and must have been here a long, long, time. I wonder if anyone has ever core-sampled them to determine their age.

Some of the sections of this trail are quite steep and rocky, and now they are covered with fallen leaves, as yet untrodden. This made the going quite treacherous, as slick as ice, especially when climbing or descending the slopes. I slipped many times, barely avoiding injury from sharp rocks or twisted ankles. I wonder what kind of footwear would offer surer footing under such conditions. I was wearing rubber-soled sneakers and they were no help at all.

I was ever so glad to make it down to the shore of the lake at last, where the sandy beach made for much easier walking. The late afternoon light was soft and dim, the lake unmarred by ripples except those made by a small group of waterfowl I could not identify. This late-autumn landscape echoed my emotions today: quiet and a little sad. May you rest in peace, dear Elaine.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for the loss.

I've been doing some of those very tricky leaf descents lately myself.

Carolyn H said...

I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

Your red oak scramble looks like fun. I have red oak here in PA, too, and the habitat around your scramble looks very much like what I see here.

Carolyn H.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thank you, greentangle and Carolyn. I appreciate your comments. When faced with sadness, a walk in the woods is always a consolation.