Saturday, October 6, 2018

Autumn Arrives in the Adirondacks

We've seen only the merest tints of autumn color in the trees in Saratoga County so far, so I was beginning to wonder if our fall would be a fizzle this year.  But driving up the Northway this weekend, on my way to Pyramid Lake in the Adirondacks, I began to see gorgeous displays of fall foliage as soon as I reached Warrensburg, north of Lake George. And this scene in the photo below, along the mile-long drive into Pyramid Life Center, sure got my hopes up that the colors should be spectacular around the lake.

Um. . . . Well, not really spectacular.  Kinda meh, actually. But lovely, yes, in a serene and peaceful kind of way, and there's certainly no denying the absolute beauty of this lake and its surrounding mountains and forest, whatever the season or intensity of foliage color.

But here is what this same scene looked like just a year ago.  No wonder I felt just a wee bit disappointed by the restrained autumn color on this particular island.  So far, anyway.

Pyramid Lake is certainly one of the jewels of the Adirondacks.  But this crystal-clear wilderness lake nestled among forested mountains means far more to me than just a beautiful place to spend the Columbus Day Weekend.  For it was here at Pyramid Life Center, a spiritual retreat center, that I found the courage more than 25 years ago to live in a way more attuned to what I truly valued in life.  I have written about this transformation before on this blog, so I won't retell that story again, except to repeat that my love for Pyramid Life Center runs very deep.  It's my love for this place that brings me back, year after year, despite advancing age and ailments, to help close up the center for the winter, and then to help reopen it again in the spring. I am grateful I still have enough health and strength to to contribute my small part to ensuring the center continues to be a place of healing, holiness, and joy to all who come here.

I am also grateful that my tasks during closing weekend are not so onerous that I cannot take a few breaks to wander along the shore and take in the many beauties that abound here.  The trees on the island may still have muted colors, but this little Chokecherry seedling was putting on quite a vivid show.

As was this lovely little Red Maple leaning over the dark, still water of a quiet cove.

I have seen many Red Russula mushrooms before, but none as vividly red as this one was!

This wee little golden mushroom appeared almost to glow as if lit from within, nestled as it was amid a mat of emerald-green sphagnum moss.

What a ruffly bunch of brown-striped layers this Turkey Tail Fungus produced!  It's certainly easy to see how it acquired its common name.  (Its scientific name is Trametes versicolor.)

This little Eastern Milk Snake was no bigger around than a pencil, but it sure had a big, courageous heart.  Annoyed with me for obstructing its forward progress with my camera, it coiled up again and again and struck at the lens.  Made my hand shake a little, so it wasn't easy to get this clear a photo.

This isn't that clear a photo, either, but it was the best my little camera's zoom lens would do.  I like this photo, anyway, because it shows how the mottled plumage of this juvenile Northern Loon echoes the mottled colors of a wind-rippled lake, serving as camouflage.

It was also impossible to get a clear photo of this racing female Merganser, tearing across the water as fast as her churning legs would propel her. I wondered if her loud and very visible thrashing was meant to distract my attention from something else.  If she'd had a brood this past spring, I would think they'd be grown and on their own by now.

On my way home, I took a short detour to visit a nearby waterfall, thinking that recent rains should have charged up its power.  I wasn't disappointed.

Nor was I disappointed by many vistas of gorgeous foliage along the road home.  I especially loved how dark-green conifers punctuated the crazy-quilt colors of the deciduous trees.  I sure hope this kind of autumn splendor makes its way south to Saratoga County in the coming weeks.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, thanks for sharing

Woody Meristem said...

Your photos of Pyramid Lake certainly confirm that it's a beautiful place.

Momo said...

Your truly marvelous photos top off a wonderful, fulfilling weekend at PLC. It was so enjoyable to spend a bit of time with you and to dig in, side by side, with so many others who treasure that jewel of creation and nurturing. Thank you, Jackie! Each photo calls me back to view it again and again! The composition of the stills is lovely --and the birds, the snake!! WOW!!!