Every autumn, we here in northeastern New York wonder, "Will we have spectacular foliage colors this year?" Some years we do; some years we don't. Well, I think this year might be one to remember as truly terrific. A friend had sent me photos from Lens Lake up in Warren County, photos that urged me to get up there to enjoy the show while the colors were at their peak. As I drove up the mountain road from the tiny village of Stony Creek to the lake, it became very clear that I was in for a treat!
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
If anyone deserves a Hornbeck canoe, our friend Ruth Brooks certainly does! An avid and super- knowledgable amateur naturalist, Ruth has been gamely joining our mutual friend Sue Pierce and me on many watery nature adventures while paddling her inflatable canoe, a very practical packable craft, but one that's rather too heavy to hike with, and also makes an easy plaything for any wind that should whip up while we're out on the water. But now, thanks to Ruth's dear and most generous husband (who gifted her with a Kevlar Hornbeck canoe for her birthday), Ruth is ready to find out what stress-free paddling is like. Her new boat weighs about the same as my cat (15 pounds), and its low profile makes it practically impervious to buffeting by the wind. There she is, in the photo above, about to set off in her brand-new canoe!
While pondering where she might take her maiden paddle with her new boat, I suggested a stretch of the Hudson River between the Spier Falls and Sherman Island dams. This stretch of the river is an almost sacred place for me, since it was here -- where the river's currents slow to an easy pace, where its waters are studded with forested islands, and its shoreline is convoluted with rocky promontories and quiet coves -- that my passion for wildflowers first was piqued, thanks to the splendid abundance of beautiful flowers and trees that thrive on these banks. Ruth agreed to my suggestion, so it was here we set off, on the Hudson's mirror-still water and under a clear blue sky, last Friday morning.
Monday, September 28, 2020
Our northeastern wildflower season approaches its close in a blaze of glory! What could rival for radiance the spectacular gold of Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), or the rich royal purple of New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), or the incomparable blue of Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis crinita)?
There's a big patch of this native sunflower called Jerusalem Artichoke right near a Price Chopper parking lot in Saratoga Springs. I've been waiting and waiting for this last flower of summer to finally open its gorgeous blooms, and just two days ago it did! What a parting gift to us, these gloriously golden flowers, offering an entire bouquet of blooms atop each gigantic stem!
New England Aster is another generous autumn bloomer, a flower of incomparably vivid color, offering bursts of brilliant purple along roadsides and open meadows everywhere.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Oh gosh, but I don't think I've ever gone so long without posting a blog! It's not that I haven't been out exploring the woods and the waterways, it's just that I'm feeling my age these days. When I get back from hiking or paddling all day, it feels more like it's time for a nap instead of time to prepare a blogpost. I do like to keep this blog going, though, if only to maintain a searchable record of what's blooming where and when. So let me try to catch up.
Canal Park at Lock 4, September 14
More than a week ago, my friend Ruth Brooks and I learned of another rare plant -- Ohio Flat-topped Goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis) -- that once had been found on the banks of the Hoosic River where it joins the Hudson in Rensselaer County. So back we went to Canal Park to see if we could find it, even though this Threatened species of goldenrod hadn't been reported from here for many, many years. We first searched a low wet area near the junction of the two rivers. There were many interesting plants here, but no goldenrod that met the description for the rare species we were seeking.
Whew! There, I'm all caught up, ready to head out for more nature adventures later this week. Lucky for me, I have other things to attend to this week, so I won't have more to report on for a while. Now to file all my photos, and put this blog baby to bed!