It always amazes me how different a landscape will appear from one day to the next. Yesterday the sky was clear and cobalt blue, and the foliage on the far mountainside was dappled with sunlight and shadow. Today, thin clouds diffused the shadowless light, which made the foliage glow with even more intensity than it had when blasted by sunshine. Every day reveals its own kind of beauty.
As I stood at the edge of the river, I was also enchanted by the colorful leaves beneath my feet, some submerged in the shallow water, others floating lazily along on the surface.
The foliage on the trail beneath my feet was just as lovely as that which towered over my head.
One patch of Quaking Aspen leaves displayed the green patches caused by a small moth larva that resides within the leaves. This tiny larva exudes a chemical that preserves the chlorophyll in the otherwise dying leaf, which allows the larva to continue feeding on living leaf tissue until it is ready to pupate.
I soon reached the open areas where the land fell away from the trail and left me high on these rolling hills. These curvaceous hills are carpeted now with the rusty hues of frost-killed Hay-scented Ferns, Grass-leaved Goldenrods, and Little Bluestem Grass, the distant mountainside crazy-quilted with the many colors of the autumn forest.
Vast tracts of Moreau Lake State Park forest rise alongside the trail.
Here's where a tiny brook comes tumbling down the mountainside and hurries down to the river far below. This was my turnaround point, and I lingered here for quite some time. Yes, my leg was tired and sore, but who would want to hurry away from a place of such quiet beauty?