It would be hard to imagine a finer paddling experience than I had last Friday: a bright sun smiling gently on us out of a clear blue sky, quiet water shimmering among forested boulders in secluded coves, colorful flowers at the peak of their high-summer beauty, and the best of friends -- Sue Pierce and Ruth Brooks -- to enjoy every minute we had together, doing what we love to do best: exploring what marvels Mother Nature had in store for us on this perfect day.
Sue and Ruth and I met to paddle the Hudson River at Moreau. Here's where we put our lightweight canoes in the boulder-shored river, where the forest glowed green and gold in the morning sun, and the quiet water echoed all that surrounding beauty in shimmering reflections.
And look what we found! TWO Smaller Purple-fringed Orchids, not just the single one I had found in this very same spot all those years ago!
With afternoon rains predicted and our sought-after treasure found, we soon decided we'd best continue our explorations of the river another day. As we entered the cove where we'd launched our canoes, another surprise awaited us. Hordes of tiny creatures were massing in clusters on the water's surface, while others skittered across the water, then gathered again in floating islands of spiky-legged insects that dispersed in a flash as our boats approached. None of us had ever seen such insect activity. But we could guess, by the way they skated at astounding speed across the water, that these creatures had to be Water Strider nymphs.
(Now I need to find out the story behind these tiny flies. Hello, BugGuide.net, it's me again!)