Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Wonderful Waterway

How much richer my life has become since I got my first Hornbeck super-light solo canoe back in 1992!  At a moment's notice I can pick up my little 12-pound boat and head off to whatever beautiful lake or river might be calling to me, without having to find another person to help me load it on my car or carry it to the water.  When this past Sunday dawned clear and sunny, my only quandary was, which splendid waterway awaits my paddle today?  Recalling its quiet mountain-ringed waters and pine-scented shores and colorful bogmat plants, I didn't have to ponder long before choosing Lens Lake, about 25 miles north of Saratoga, just a few miles west of Stony Creek in Warren County.

Although a few cabins hide along the wooded shoreline, and small motors of 3/4 horsepower or less are allowed on the lake, there wasn't a single other craft to ripple its glassy surface when I pushed off to explore the intricately convoluted shoreline of this Adirondack lake.

One of this lake's most notable features is the presence of acres and acres of floating bogmats, home to multiple species and many colors of sphagnum moss, punctuated by tall-stalked Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia purpurea) and multitudes of fluffy-headed Cottongrass (Eriophorum sp.) waving in the breeze.

Some of the reddest Pitcher Plant leaves I have ever seen push up from these sphagnum mats, their fluid-filled "pitchers" ready to tempt and trap passing insects, which the plant then digests and consumes.

Other species of insect-eating plants ring the edges of the bogmat, including this ruby-red clump of Spatulate Sundew (Drosera intermedia), which also sports a few spikes of White Beak-sedge (Rhynchospora alba), a very common denizen of northern bogs.

The sphagnum species come in several colors, including the gold and red ones covering the hummocks here.

This little hummock was home to some bright-yellow Horned Bladderwort (Utricularia cornuta), as well as the sundew and sedge.

Much tinier yellow flowers, called Slender Yellow-eyed Grass (Xyris torta), were thriving on this small hummock.

Here's a closer look at the flower of Slender Yellow-eyed Grass, which grows on a twisted stalk.

When I first set out to explore the lake around noon, the abundant plants of Marsh St. Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum) still held their ruby-red buds tightly closed.

But by the time I headed back toward the launching site in late afternoon, those buds had opened to reveal the satiny-pink flowers within.

Marsh St. Johnswort is a very common plant of wetlands, but because its buds open for only a short few hours each afternoon, I always feel blessed when I see its pretty blooms.  Just as I feel really blessed to have such a wonderful waterway as Lens Lake so available to me and my little canoe.


You Get The Picture said...

Great colorful shots and nature!

Woody Meristem said...

Beautiful photos and yes Pete Hornbeck sells a wonderful boat for all of us with bad backs or of advancing age.

Andrew Lane Gibson said...

Your words and photos never fail to mesmerize, Jackie. Such vivid colors of just one of the many "heaven on Earth"s you take me/us to :)

Ron Gamble said...

Nice post! Thanks for the photos of the open Triadenum flowers. I've seen the plant a number of times around SE Michigan, but never with open flower buds. In fact, I wondered if it might be mainly cleistogamous!

catharus said...

What a wonderful outing!

Raining Iguanas said...

What a gorgeous post.

The Furry Gnome said...

Absolutely wonderful looking place!