Friday, October 16, 2020

A Short Walk At Moreau Lake

 Some days I'm late getting my act together to get outdoors, even on the kind of gorgeous fall day it was this past Wednesday.  Luckily, I have truly wonder-filled destinations that feed my nature needs promptly and close to home.  Moreau Lake State Park is one of the best of those destinations.  I didn't have time to walk ALL the way around Moreau Lake that afternoon, but the distance I did walk offered many delights.

After parking near the beach and stepping out onto the shore, I was dazzled by the intense blueness of that radiant sapphire sky reflected by the still water.

Crossing the bridge that separates the main lake from its back bay, I walked on a sun-dappled golden-leaved trail that offered glimpses of blue from both bodies of water. This trail is lined with maples, pines, and oaks, and I wish my photo could somehow convey the sun-warmed fragrance of all this mingled foliage.

This blueberry bush along the trail offered all the colors of autumn in a single shrub.

I stepped through the woods to get a better view of the brilliant foliage across the back bay.

A group of Red Maples that line the marshy eastern shore of the back bay always turn a remarkable super-saturated red.

For much of the summer, the lake's water level was so high it reached all the way up into the woods.  But now, the water has fallen low enough to reveal a shoreline ample enough to walk along under the colorful trees. So I set off to see how far I could walk on dry land.

There are Sassafras saplings along this shore with colors so vivid I could almost taste them!

The leaves on this Red Maple bough were so drenched with color, my camera strained to take a believable photo of them.  I actually reduced the saturation a bit, but they still came out so vivid, they hardly seem real.  I assure you, though, they really were this knock-your-eye-out red!

These next two photos of berry-laden Maple-leaved Viburnum reveal how the very same plant, either partially shaded or in full sun, appear very differently colored, at least to my camera.  It's as if the full sun obliterated the blue cast of the leaves, which was dominant in the filtered light.

I managed to find enough dry shore to reach the cove where some really rare Whorled Mountain Mint used to thrive in abundant numbers. The area where this Endangered species once grew has been under water for about two years, so it's not surprising that the numbers have been reduced.  I sure hope they revive, now that the water has fallen. The only remnant I found this day was this one single dried-up plant, probably left from last year, since this year's plants would still have green leaves even after the flowers had gone to seed.  I do have high hopes for this plant's return, since Moreau Lake, a true kettle lake,  has a history of periodic rising and falling, according to rainfall and snowmelt amounts.

After finding that Mountain Mint, the shore turned too muddy for me to proceed on foot, so I turned around and retraced my steps along this pebbled shore.

As I passed the north shore of Moreau Lake, I noticed this hedge of Black Huckleberry had turned more of a burgundy red this year, instead of the brilliant ruby red it had turned in past years.  Perhaps it is just on its way to reaching that brilliance.  When I look at my old photos of these shrubs, I note that I photographed the truly brilliant foliage in November.  So there's still time for it to put on its annual show! Not that it's not beautiful already.

As I once again crossed the bridge that divides the two parts of Moreau Lake, I stopped to admire this view of the mountain that rises beyond the far shore of the back bay.  The foliage colors are beautiful already, but there's still plenty of green in this forest. I expect that the beauty of this scene will only intensify in the days to come.

Here's another kind of beauty, but in miniature. There were many of these wee little pale-blue creatures wafting about, sporting such tutu-like wisps of fluff.  This is a winged specimen of a Woolly Alder Aphid, newly emerged from a clonal clump of wingless sisters who've been feeding on alder twigs from late summer until now.  At this stage, a Woolly Alder Aphid acquires another name along with its wings.  Now we call it a Fairy Fly.  Just one more of the wonderful things we only see in autumn.


Adirondackcountrygal said...

Beautiful photographs.

R.D Francis said...

Great read with stellar pictures. Chuck the Writer with this "What's Up in the Neighborhood" blog, brought me here.

The Furry Gnome said...

Wonderful walk! That picture of the Sassafras leaves is incredible!

Woody Meristem said...

The aphid is spectacular, it would really be something with a macro photograph. Looks like our fall colors are more advanced than yours even though you're further north.

threecollie said...

What a beautiful fall to get outdoors. Love your wonderful photos.