Monday, October 9, 2017

Scenes from an Adirondack Weekend

Based on the gorgeous autumn foliage that blazed from the Adirondack forest I visited this past weekend, I'm thinking perhaps we needn't despair about missing the annual spectacle where I live further south.  Maybe we just have to wait a week or so for our Saratoga County trees to put on their own show. This was the beautiful display that greeted me last Friday, as I drove the entrance road to Pyramid Life Center in Essex County, 70 miles north of Saratoga Springs.

The evening light did not show off the foliage colors around the lake to best advantage, but the serene stillness of Pyramid Lake offered its own kind of beauty.

Come morning, the sunrise lit up the forested shore of the lake in a spectacular display.

Even as clouds moved in to dim the sun, the beauty of the scene continued to glow.

I was here to help close the center's main lodge and cabins for the winter, when all the boats will be stored away in this boathouse that serves as a gathering house for retreat attenders during the summer months.

The center's rustic cabins are hidden high up in the woods overlooking the lake and are accessed along this pine-needle-cushioned road that hugs the lakeshore.

Benches placed along the shore offer a resting place for contemplating the majestic beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains.

A new lodging option was created this year, with the construction of a yurt along the shore road.  Furnished with comfortable beds and tables and chairs, the yurt offers a more comfortable camping experience than that of a lean-to or tent.  But those more rustic options are also provided for, in campsites at the end of the road or out on the lake's large island.

It rained off and on most of Saturday, while I was working to help wrap beds and other furniture to protect them from mouse damage over the winter.  And lucky for me, by the time my work was completed in late afternoon, the rain had stopped and I could venture out on the lake for a paddle.

My paddling destination was a cedar swamp that lies at the far eastern end of the lake.  Down here, where the water is always quiet even when winds roil the open lake, the shallow water is studded with sphagnum-covered hummocks and fallen logs that serve as nursery sites for the kind of plants that thrive in swamps and bogs.

Those fallen logs also serve as basking sites for Painted Turtles.

The sphagnum moss that covered this hummock was a beautiful rich red.

The leaves of Marsh Cinquefoil were held like pretty pink parasols above the water.

Cranberry vines covered some of the fallen logs with glossy green leaves and ruby-red fruit.

I even found a few flowers still blooming back in these quiet waters, many weeks after their typical time of first bloom.  The bright-yellow blossoms of Horned Bladderwort were held high on slender stems.

A few of the Sheep Laurel shrubs were adorned once more with the rosy-pink flowers that typically bloom in May.

These tiny green floating orbs are called Nostoc Balls, membrane-enclosed colonies of cyanobacteria that thrive by the millions in the shallow waters at the far east end of Pyramid Lake.  Unlike the toxic algae blooms that pollute some bodies of water, these jelly-like organisms thrive only in the cleanest lakes and are in fact a sign of their cleanliness.  I always look for them each year in this cedar swamp, when I visit Pyramid Lake in October, for they only make their appearance late in the year as the water turns cold.

I find the Nostoc Balls again and again, each year I look for them at Pyramid Lake, but never have I seen them abounding in such numbers and in such a wide distribution as I found them this year.

I saw this delicate little moth floundering on the surface of the water and was able to lift it clear. I placed it on my shoulder to dry off, and eventually it flew away.  It was probably nearing the end of its lifespan, but I'm glad I was able to give it a few more hours or days of life.

As I departed Pyramid Lake, I visited a stream in the nearby hamlet of Paradox.  Here, the stream tumbles in multiple waterfalls, surrounded by trees adorned with their autumn hues.  What a spectacular site, allowing me to absorb the beauty of an Adirondack autumn and carry my delight in it all the way home.


Woody Meristem said...

Beautiful place, it must be a joy to return each year.

The Furry Gnome said...

Such a beautiful and peaceful place! Glad you have a connection here. It must mean a lot to you.

Anonymous said...

Great pictures. Thanks for sharing