Friday, October 26, 2012

Before the Storm

Well, we're supposed to get walloped with a double-whammy of a storm in a couple of days:  Hurricane Sandy joining forces with a big nor'easter to slam us with lashing wind and rain and possibly sleet and snow.  Sounds bad.  There will probably be power outages all over the Northeast.  So did I spend today making preparations to ride out the storm and its aftermath?  No, I did not.  Instead, I spent the day chasing after what's left of autumn's colorful foliage, since this storm will most likely strip all the trees of whatever leaves still remain.  The winters here are long and dark and dreary.  Gotta soak up that gorgeous color while we can.

As it happened, my friend Sue and I had already planned to visit our favorite bog this week, so that's where we met to start the day today.  Low, dense clouds darkened the sky and shrouded the mountains from view, but here in the bog the Tamaracks filled the air with a golden glow, as if the sun were hiding out in here until the clouds cleared.  A ruby carpet of Sphagnum was dotted with dancing  puffs of Cottongrass,  bobbing and swaying on long thin stalks, in constant motion, even when there was no breeze.

Whatever scarlet leaves still clung to the Highbush Blueberry shrubs were reaching skyward, like tongues of flame.

Bog Rosemary leaves had changed from their soft blue-green to knock-your-eye-out red.

The masses of Leatherleaf shrubs were a marvelous mix of red and green, providing a beautiful foil for the Tamarack's golden boughs.

This little mushroom, too, held a rosy glow, tucked in among cordovan Sphagnum and touched by a slender stem of Large Cranberry.

 After walking about in the bog for an hour or so, and then later exploring the woods and rocks around the site of the original Ft. William Henry on the southern shore of Lake George,  Sue had to leave to get ready for work, but I still had the rest of the day to chase after the remnants of autumn.  I decided to drive up the western shore of Lake George to Hague, then take Rte. 8 west through the mountains to Brant Lake,  and then take the Northway home.  Everywhere I looked along the road I was met with beautiful vistas.

I stopped in Bolton Landing for lunch, then walked down to the public beach to view the lake and the mountains.

The day continued cloudy and dark, but Lake George is gorgeous whatever the weather.

Continuing north toward Hague, I remembered a waterfall off in the woods that my son had taken me to many years ago.  I wondered if I could still find it, so I stopped in a parking area near Tongue Mountain and set off into the woods.  It wasn't hard to find at all; I simply followed the sound of rushing water.

Just south of Hague is a road that leads down to Silver Bay, a historic retreat center now operated by the YMCA.  I didn't stop at the center today, but enjoyed the rustic beauty of the road itself.

Not to mention the beauty of the lake views visible from the road.

The trees near Lake George still held many more of their colorful leaves than did the trees in the mountains I passed through to reach Brant Lake.  At Brant Lake, most of the forest colors were muted, except for a few explosions of gold I could see on the hillsides across the lake.

Just beyond Brant Lake is the hamlet of Horicon, whose most distinctive landmark is this tiny stone library that's built out into the water.  Picturesque, indeed, but I would think all that dampness would not be good for the books.

Another pretty building in Horicon is this sweet little church, which used to serve a Catholic congregation but which is now for sale.  I was enchanted by its beautiful windows.

Despite the frost we had a couple of weeks ago, I found a few flowers still bravely blooming at various sites I visited today.  This pretty Herb Robert was growing in the rocks that lined the Warren County Bike Path near Lake George.

Great Lobelia added its intense blue to a still blooming flowerbed on the beach at Bolton Landing.

Bright yellow Dandelions starred the grass near the public beach at Lake George.  Renowned as one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, this sturdy little weed will again set bloom when the daylight hours in fall are similar to the length of days when Dandelions bloom in spring.


Elizabeth said...

That's what I'm doing today -- going out to get a nature fix before we have to hunker down for the storm. :P Thanks for sharing your pictures of awesome foliage! The rosemary is particularly gorgeous, and unexpected. Cool!

DJ / Meander Mountain said...

The dandelion holds its own in terms of beauty and complexity, doesn't it? Too bad it's so reviled by some people. I enjoy seeing the palette of plants you have in your area, compared to ours in southern Appalachia. A lot of it overlaps, actually.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Thanks for the drive - it was lovely!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for blogging about Brant Lake! That's where my heart is - even from the other side of the state! We enjoy your blog and your marvelous pictures. Keep up the good work. LOB

squirrel said...

Well, did you keep your power and are your trees still standing after the big storm. I live just outside of Washington and really only received 4 days of rain and lot of wind but not damage. The critters are just now poking their heads back out. I do hope you did as well.--Squirrel