How happy -- and surprised! -- I was to find the river still full to its banks when I reached the Sherman Island Boat Launch about a mile downstream from the dam. I soon was gliding across the river's silvery surface under a beautiful sky.
My destination was a group of little islands that lie not far from the launch site, their shores adorned with the ruddy leaves of Silky Dogwood shrubs and bordered by shallows that support many emergent wetland plants.
Although many of summer's flowers have faded and fallen, often their leaves remain stunningly beautiful. The glowing corals and rich reds of Marsh St. Johnswort leaves and seedpods are somehow enhanced by sharing their space with the dainty lime-green leaves of Northern St. Johnswort.
Here was a third species of St. Johnswort, Dwarf St. Johnswort, a pretty pink cluster crowning a rotting stump.
The Yellow Loosestrife plants were adding a little color of their own by sprouting ruby-red bulbils in their leaf axils. These bulbils will drop off and sink to the mud to produce clones of the parent plants.
Mats of blooming Golden Pert added their sunny yellow and glowing green to the color scheme.
As I paddled along close to the river banks, I came upon this patch of sedges, their dangling seedheads pale and shimmering against the dark ruddy leaves of Silky Dogwoods.
And oh, what a burst of royal blue from this explosion of Bottle Gentians!
Sharing the riverbank with the gentians were numerous blooming Turtleheads, their fat white blossoms tinged with pink.
I don't know how this catchment of the river can stay full of water with its source upstream so diminished. But the water level was high enough that I could enter a section of a small stream that enters the river close by the boat launch site. What a display the Bottle Gentians put on back here!
I could even spy a few remaining spikes of Cardinal Flower tucked in among the creekside greenery. There's certainly no missing the super-saturated red of this flower's blooms!
Sneezeweed, too, still held onto its sunny-yellow blooms to brighten this dark shady creekbank.
It was still summer-warm on this mid-September day, but these bright-orange leaves on a riverside maple reminded me that autumn is on its way for sure.