Today, because of a summer unusually hot and dry, the river is low enough to allow me to walk right up to the edge of the falls and not only hear but feel the roaring power of all that plunging water.
You may hear it, too, it you like.
While climbing around on those rocks, I was pleased to greet many of my old flower friends that I always expect to find here. One of the daintiest is the pretty blue Kalm's Lobelia.
Another inhabitant is Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint, which today had opened all of its puffy clusters of bloom.
This is a flower that looks completely white from a distance, but a closer look reveals a sprinkling of purple polka-dots.
Whats this?! Goldenrod already?! Yes, I know, this is called Early Goldenrod for a reason, but early July?! Looking back through the last 10 years of my flower journals, I see that this is really really early for this flower.
The same can be said for Purple-stemmed Aster, the earliest of our large purple asters to bloom. But in past years, early meant late July. But there it was, blooming away on the banks of the Hudson today.
The same snowless winter and extra-hot, low-rainfall summer that has brought many flowers to blooming at least two weeks early this year, has also dropped water levels in the Hudson. As I looked upstream from Rockwell Falls, I could see dry land below the banks, where in other years there would only be rushing water. Hmm, I thought, let's see what might have popped into bloom along here.
Hah! Here by the hundreds were the little rascals that elude me for years at a time, or grant me maybe one tiny yellow blossom after weeks of searching. I'll bet these myriad Creeping Spearworts have been waiting for years under all that water, and now is their day in the sun.
As I made my way upstream along the muddy banks, I came to large mats of the most amazing green. Oh my, I thought, that particular color of green sure looks like Golden Pert. I wonder if I will find any blooming here. I have never found it upstream from Moreau, but then, I've never found mudflats here above Rockwell Falls, either.
Yup, Golden Pert is indeed what it was! Its little yellow trumpets were just starting to open, but the bright yellow-green of its leaves was already spreading a golden glow along the river bottom.
A little ways upstream, and that green-gold glow was amended by tawnier carpets of another plant that was taking this advantage of low water-levels to grow abundantly.
A closer look at those tawny carpets revealed a plant with many reddish buds and fuzzy white puffs along the leafless stems that just might be flowers.
An even closer look reveals what look like oblong anthers dangling on fine filaments, and perhaps that's a pistillate structure in the middle of them. Are those fluffy little clusters then the fruits? I really have no idea what this plant is, because I have never seen it before and I can't find anything like it in any of my wildflower guides.
One plant I was NOT happy to find here was Purple Loosestrife. At least there were only a few, and those few were spread out as individual plants, rather than in the mass invasions we sometimes see in roadside ditches and open marshes. I was about to yank out this solitary plant when a Monarch arrived, so I went on my way and left the butterfly to enjoy its meal.
Then a second butterfly came and graced me with its presence. Is there any creature more lovely than a Tiger Swallowtail? Just one more compensation today for not finding that Purple Fringed Orchid.