My stewarding duties include picking up trash (only one small grocery sack's worth today) and reporting any issues that require trail maintenance. I did find two beaver-felled trees across the trail, plus much other evidence of a burgeouning beaver population around the lake. Can't you just picture a group of them all lined up at this beaver buffet?
Some other creature had enjoyed a shellfish feast along the shore. Otter? Raccoon? Mink?
There appear to be at least three different kinds of Cladonia in this clump. Is that brown stuff they're growing out of another lichen or is it a moss? Or maybe a liverwort?
I had my camera's macro lens take a closer look.
And even closer. Looks like a moss to me, with all that leafyness. Update: But I was wrong! This stuff is actually a leafy liverwort called Ptilidium pulcherrimum, also known by the common name of Lovely Fuzzwort. What a great name!
Even though the day was dark and gray, and the trees are now bare or brown, bright spots of color could still be found, such as this vivid sprig of Highbush Blueberry leaves . . .
. . . or this spray of Sugar Maple leaves still a brilliant yellow.
Dewberry leaves looked especially lovely against the silvery gray bark of a fallen limb.
Ah, but nothing equals the fiery glow of Meadowsweet, in tones of orange and yellow and rose.
Among fungi, it would be hard to surpass the Cinnabar Polypore for vivid orange.
And the underside with its many pores is even more vividly orange.
The forecast calls for freezing temperatures tonight, maybe a little snow. Thinking of winter approaching, I'm reassured when I see the bright green leaves of Trailing Arbutus, which will happily spend the winter under the snow, then shelter the flowers that are among the earliest to bloom in the spring.
Hepatica leaves will do the same, wintering under the snow to be among the first to catch the nourishing sunlight come the spring. They have already donned their fur coats, in preparation for the winter to come.