The day was gray, but the woods along the river still glowed with the last embers of autumn colors.
The little birches and the highbush blueberries added especially vivid flashes.
The river was so high when I put in on Satruday, I could hear the water roaring over the Sherman Island Dam some considerable distance downstream, so I headed that way to observe the tumultuous plummeting. Inching as close to the edge as I dared, I beached my boat and climbed up the bank for a better view.
This dam has a most remarkable horseshoe shape.
I doubt I would have survived if my boat had gone over the edge to be dashed on the rocks below!
Paddling back, I took my time marveling at the glorious landscape that surrounds the river along this stretch, with forested mountains as far as the eye can see, and except for the road that follows the far bank, very few signs of human habitation.
The close-up views were equally delightful, as a momentary sunbeam broke through the clouds to illumine this maple bough.
Now that the Witch Hazel shrubs have dropped their leaves, their starry yellow flowers stood out against a backdrop of dark-green conifers.
An abundant patch of Wintergreen had found its niche in a crack of a riverside boulder. I rejoiced in realizing that these glossy green leaves and plump red berries will emerge from winter's ravages next spring looking just as beautiful as they do today. I will seek them out when I return for my first paddle of next year.
Every time I re-enter this quiet boulder-lined cove to beach my boat, I feel reluctant to leave. There's a fragrance here of moss and pine and damp soil, and centuries of flowing water have carved deep-shadowed hollows in the rocks. I lingered here for quite some time, breathing in the cool fragrant air and offering thanks that I live in a place where such natural beauty abounds.