Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Breakthrough Day! Back in My Boat!

This is the day I've waited all summer for!  At last, my shattered kneecap is once again strong and flexible enough to  lift me in and out of my boat.  How lucky for me it was also one of the hottest days of the summer, just in case I fell out of my canoe in the process.  But my mission was accomplished, and with no mishaps!  A great day to be back on the water!

I have actually never paddled around Moreau Lake before, since its sandy shoreline has never seemed to offer much worth exploring by canoe, unlike the river with its forested banks and swampy backwaters thriving with riparian wildflowers.  But that very sandy-bottomed shoreline made it easy to wade out into the water to launch my canoe.  And that same sandy bottom made it easy for me to climb out on shore to walk on the beach.  But wow, look how low the water level of the lake is!

Large areas of lake bottom have been exposed to the air  this rain-deprived summer, so I was curious to see what plants have populated these once-underwater stretches.  For one thing, I had never seen so many plants of Blue Curls along one section of shoreline.  If you click on this photo, you may be able to see the tiny blue flowers littering the sand, flowers that last but a morning before being shed by early afternoon each day.  There should be another whole crop of them blooming tomorrow.

I knew that the rare Whorled Mountain Mint that populates this shoreline would be long past its bloom-time, but I was glad to find many plants with their distinctive seed-heads intact.  And I couldn't resist pinching off a leaf or two to breathe their intense minty fragrance.

Lots of late-season favorites were blooming in profusion, including masses of the tiny-white-flowered Heath Aster.

How happy I was to find again one of my lakeshore favorites, the pretty pink  Small-flowered Gerardia!

Sweet Everlasting is a common flower of sandy beaches, and sure enough, I found some blooming along the shore today, its brown-sugar fragrance carried to me by the warm humid breeze.

High up on the shore, just before the beach turns into woodland, many Buttonbush shrubs were adorned with their dark-red seedheads, every bit as lovely as their spheres of small white trumpets had been when the bush was in bloom.

A few Boneset plants were still in bloom, and this one was offering its pollen and nectar to one of our prettiest wasps, the beautiful jet-bodied, white-striped, blue-winged Mason Wasp (Monobia quadridens).  I felt no qualms about poking my camera in close as it fed, since this is a non-aggressive solitary wasp that has no colony to defend (unlike its almost lookalike, the fierce Bald-faced Hornet).  While the adult wasp feeds on plant pollen and nectar, it will also sting and paralyze caterpillars to feed to its young, including many caterpillars that are considered garden pests.  So think good thoughts about Mason Wasps, as beneficial as they are beautiful.

This was a very exciting day for me, signaling my return to paddling adventures, and with many weeks of pleasant paddling weather remaining before ice covers the waters.  At this point in my recovery, it's less painful to paddle than it is to hike, so I sure look forward to returning to the rivers, ponds, and lakes that surround us here in northern New York, and to revisiting all the wildlife  -- plants as well as animals -- that inhabit our many regional woods and waterways.  Rejoice!


Richard Carey said...

Congratulations! totally jealous of your boat, but getting along with my canoe and love when I can be on the water

The Furry Gnome said...

Congrats! Sorry it took so long, but glad to hear you're out on the water! And looks like a beautiful day too!

threecollie said...

Congratulations! It is wonderful that you are back on the water.

Woody Meristem said...

Glad to hear that you're back on the water -- that's quite a scar on your knee.

Great photo of the mason wasp, many wasps are truly beautiful.

maggie said...

Glad you are back in your boat! It's been a tough summer for you and I'm grateful that you continued to post.