Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Autumn in the Adirondacks

Brrrr!  We had our first truly cold morning of the season this Monday.  But a temperature down in the 40s did not  deter my friends Evelyn and Bonnie and me from paddling Lens Lake on one of the most spectacular blue-sky days of this fall.  Donning longjohns and knee boots and polar fleece, we set off to explore one of the prettiest lakes of the Adirondacks, up in the mountains a few miles west of Stony Creek.

The trees along the shore and up on the mountainsides were just about as colorful as trees could be, rivaling in brightness the cold-weather gear and PFD that Bonnie is wearing here.

Bonnie and Evelyn (plus Evelyn's grandson Calvin) were on a mission today, to pick as many cranberries as they could find on the abundant bog mats that populate this quiet lake.  Soon, they pulled their boats up on the bog mats and began to fill their collection buckets.

And boy, were the pickings great!  I've searched these bog mats for cranberries on years when I could find barely enough to fill a small paper cup, but this year the ruby-red berries lay thick on the golden sphagnum.

It didn't take long to fill whole bags full!

I was more enchanted by the scenery than interested in harvesting cranberries, so while my friends were bending over their task on the bog mats, I paddled around just soaking up the spectacle of autumn in the Adirondacks.  I couldn't remember the mountainsides displaying such a marvelous crazy-quilt of glorious colors.

For viewing this autumn spectacle, nothing beats paddling a quiet lake, where the brilliant shoreline colors are amplified by the water's reflections.

After sating myself with the glorious views from out on the open water, I next slipped into some quiet coves to explore the shoreline vegetation up close.

This fallen log along the shaded shore was home to an amazing variety of colorful plants, including numerous cranberries in quite unexpected shades of pink and purple. I wonder if this is the color that shade-growing cranberries regularly exhibit, compared to the ruby red of the ones that grow out on the sun-drenched bog mats.

Even the Pitcher Plants that shared this log were a darker maroon than the scarlet ones out on the bog mats.

Well, this flowering Sheep Laurel was quite a surprise!  This is a shrub that normally blooms in June, and I could see some spent flower clusters from then still clinging to the shrubs lower down on the stems.  When they bloom in early summer, the flower clusters of Sheep Laurel are surmounted by a terminal cluster of leaves, but all the flowers I saw today were blooming at the top.  Just one more wonder to ponder on this glorious autumn day on an Adirondack lake.


The Furry Gnome said...

I'm you're a brave lady to be paddling in these temperatures, but what a beautiful day you had to enjoy it!

catharus said...

Beautiful!!! Yes, it's a delight to harvest wild cranberries and use them in Holiday baking!