Since the shadows still held the chill of the night before, we were drawn toward the warmth of the sunny side of the lake, where emergent bur-reeds glowed in a golden fringe beneath a mixed forest of colorful hardwoods and conifers. The vivid red of Red Maples was punctuated by the deep green of Balsam Fir, White Pine, and Red Spruce.
Archer Vly is a narrow pond with a basically east-west orientation, so as we rounded the eastern end of the pond and continued along the north-facing southern shore, we entered the shade of seldom-sunlit Hemlocks. Standing out from the dark of that Hemlock shore were stands of a grass-fine sedge called Carex lasiocarpa, with fine, arching stems that caught and held the sunlight, glittering gold as they swayed in a gentle breeze.
The north-facing shore is much rockier than the south-facing shore, with large boulders rising directly from the water's edge, providing a home for many beautiful mosses and other shade-loving plants.
One of those shade-loving plants is Stiff Clubmoss (Lycopodium annotinum), which was holding its golden sporangia stiffly above its spiky evergreen leaves. This particular clubmoss is found only in the colder regions of North America, and at higher altitudes, designations that certainly fit the mountainous area around Archer Vly, where winter temperatures can plunge to 30 below.
Here was another moss we found, a really lovely one with very fine leaves. I am not familiar with its name, but Nancy, who is an expert bryologist, took samples home to investigate, so I'm hoping she can identify it for us. I will try to come back to add an update when I know.
The shoreline here was carpeted with many of the forest-floor species that thrive in a northern woodland. The heart-shaped leaves of Dalibarda are here intermingled with the three-lobed ones of Goldthread on this mossy bank.
Where the water lapped against the banks, we found abundant stands of Narrow-leaved Gentian, their beautiful blue flowers now replaced by golden seed-pods.
Those Gentian seed-pods readily spilled their multitudinous seeds with just a touch of the pods.
The last time I paddled here, in late July, the southern shoreline was abloom with more Small Green Wood Orchids (Platanthera clavellata) than I had ever seen in my life. So I was sure I would find at least some of their seed pods now. But, boy, it wasn't easy to spot them, so thin and brown they were now. But I did find a few. (If you click the link highlighted above, you can see what they looked like in bloom.)
As we neared our put-in spot, we were sad to reach the end of our paddling adventure, but glad to get up to stretch our legs once more and then find a sunny spot to enjoy our picnic lunches.
How's this for a sunny spot to enjoy our picnic lunches?
What a beautiful view we had of this pretty pond, rendered especially exquisite by that radiant blue sky and the vivid colors of shoreline trees!
Here's one more spot of exquisite beauty that I found today, while waiting to meet my friends near a garden that still offered nectar-filled blooms to a visiting Painted Lady.