Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Home to My Own Dear Hudson

After gallivanting all over the Adirondacks this week, it was good to come home to my own dear Hudson River today. The day was soft and warm, with sunshine winning out over sprinkles just as I arrived at the Sherman Island Boat Launch along Spier Falls Road. The river was quiet and glassy, reflecting the hills and the sky and the trees, which are just beginning to turn their vivid autumn colors. The sight of all that calming beauty and the sweet silken glide of my boat across the still water filled me with a wonderful sense of peace and joy. How lucky I am to have such a place to call home!

And how hungry I am for Honey Mushrooms, which is why I headed straight across the river to land my canoe where a stream comes tumbling down the far mountainside. There's a path that follows that stream uphill to where I have always found this delicious wild mushroom growing abundantly. And this is the season for them.

Here's a photo of just one clump of Honey Mushrooms I found last year on September 24. They're as tasty as they are handsome, and if you find one of them, you're likely to find a hundred.

(Actually, these might NOT be Honey Mushrooms, even though that's the name I filed this photo under. I would have to do a spore print to make sure the spores were white. It's important to be absolutely sure of a species before consuming it.)

But no Honey Mushrooms this year. We seem to be having a fall fungi famine, after this hot dry summer. The only fungi I found were hard woody ones that might have been there for years.

One bright spot of color lit up the dark wooded streamside. The brilliant red of the Jack-in-the-Pulpit berries is set off nicely by those yellow leaves.

I returned to the river to enjoy a nice long paddle up and down the beautiful banks. There was not a single other boat to disturb the tranquil waters.

I, however, continually disturbed this Great Blue Heron each time I rounded a bend in the river. It kept flying ahead of me and landing downstream, only to take off again each time I approached. Finally it wised up and flew across the river.

This dragonfly, on the other hand, seemed to welcome my approach and landed on my leg. It flew off a few times as I poked my camera at it, but shortly returned to exactly the same spot.

I saw a few blooms just starting to unfurl on Witch Hazel, too far away for me to get a photo. But I did manage to get a shot of these Flowering Dogwood berries.

When I returned to my car, I found this furry critter crawling on my windshield wiper. As soon as I tried to lift it safely away, it retracted into this tight little ball.

Reluctant to touch this Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar (Lophocampa caryae) -- both because I did not want to hurt it and also because its bristles can sometime irritate a person's skin -- I coaxed it onto a twig and safely carried it away to the nearby woods. What beautiful markings! It reminds me of a Snow Leopard.

Heading home, I passed by Mud Pond and stopped to admire these beautiful trees along the shore.

The autumn colors have just begun to emerge. It looks like we're going to have a gorgeous fall season.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A snow leopard caterpillar! I love that!