It was really a dumb idea. "Let's take the cliff route up to the overlook," I said to my husband this afternoon, and being a game guy, he agreed. It's usually an interesting option for hiking up to the Spring overlook in Moreau Lake State Park, an alternative route that leaves the well-marked and maintained trail and offers a bit of a scramble up the steep mountainside and along some towering, spring-dampened, moss-encrusted cliffs. It's always just a little bit risky, what with jutting boulders and hidden hollows for snagging a foot, but today, with the forest floor thickly carpeted with slippery oak leaves, it felt like trying to climb a mountain made of glass. The only way to progress, even while crawling, was to clear the layers of leaves down to the dirt, with every step. Exhausting and nerve-wracking!
Obviously, we made it, but we had to stop and catch our breath whenever we found a relatively level spot, like the one my husband stands in here.
We felt a great relief when we reached the official, more level, trail that leads to a rocky outcropping overlooking the Hudson River far below.
Here we could sit and rest a while, enjoying the view of the river and mountains and forest.
Most of the colorful leaves and flowers have fallen or faded, but we could still find little patches of vivid beauty, like this Dewberry leaf resting on a mound of diverse lichens speckled with scarlet.
These purple-viened Foamflower plants provided a strikingly colorful contrast to the tobacco-brown of the fallen oak and beech leaves.
Oh, look what we found! A solitary little Bluet, blue as the sky with a sun-yellow center, blooming away in the middle of the path. What a brave little beauty, still putting forth blooms, even after several killing frosts.