Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Wildflower Walk in the Mountains

Several days of really warm weather have nudged the long-delayed wildflowers into bloom, even up in the Adirondack Mountains.  This photo shows the profile of Crane Mountain through a woods where I walked today with my friends Evelyn and Bob, who introduced me to their friend Amy.  It was Amy's woods we walked in, and a remarkable woods it was, home to many lime-loving plants, including numerous Leatherwood shrubs like the one in the foreground here.

To reach the rise that was covered with Leatherwood shrubs, we followed an old logging road that was starrred with the bright lemon-yellow flowers of Round-leaved Violet.  This is a violet that truly loves the northern climes and can often be found where roads and wide trails have opened the tree canopy to let some sunlight reach the forest floor.

Amy led us through pathless woods to a ridge of rock that burgeoned with the dainty snow-white flowers of Early Saxifrage, growing from every crack in the boulders.

As we kicked through the dry leaf litter in the woods, we tried to be careful not to step on the abundance of flowers that had sprung up this week, including Blue Cohosh, Dutchman's Breeches, Spring Beauty, and these marvelously purple Round-leaved Hepaticas.

It sure was a beautiful day for a picnic, and what a gorgeous spot we had to eat our lunches outdoors.  Amy (middle) led us around this sparkling pond to a bench that was perched right at the edge of the water.  As we sat to eat, we had a perfect view of aquatic life going about its business.  There were Boatmen beetles rowing away upside-down underwater, Whirligig Beetles scurrying around on the pond's smooth surface, and wonder of wonders, we watched as a Leech came wriggling along, only to be attacked by a Spotted Newt, who soon chased it out of sight as watched in gape-jawed amazement.

On my way home from Crane Mountain, I stopped just north of Warrensburg to walk out on the section of riverbank that is called the Ice Meadows.  Longtime readers of this blog will recall the huge heaps of white frazil ice that covered this stretch of riverbank to a depth of well over 10 feet.  Well, the hot sun of the past few days has done a pretty good job of whittling away at those heaps, although a few mounds of frazil remain, looking like very large polar bears stretched out to take a sunbath.  A couple of bikini-clad girls joined the sunbathers today.  By the way, that's snowy-white marble the girls are lying on, not patches of ice.


Ellen Rathbone said...

Oh...look...leatherwood...not American Fly Honeysuckle! :D (I couldn't resist.)

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Yup. And kind of a rarity in the Adirondacks, which are mostly granitic. Leatherwood loves limestone.