Up and up I drove, finally reaching a quiet lake ringed by mountainsides. It was raining a little, and the clouds were resting atop the lakeside mountains, veiling the crazy-quilt of colors I could discern through the mist.
I continued slowly along a narrow dirt road, rejoicing in all the vivid trees that pressed close to the road.
I pulled over when I reached the end of the lake, where a gold and red sphagnum-carpeted bog mat stretched between forested banks, the mountains rising beyond and disappearing into the clouds.
I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this Bunchberry blooming now. And looking around, I saw quite a few of these normally spring-blooming flowers dotting the forest floor. An autumn surprise, for sure!
Many of the woodland mushrooms were just as colorful as the trees. I did not know the names of most of them, since to accurately determine their species I would have had to dismember them. I was content to simply enjoy their beauty in situ, enhanced by their surroundings. The Partridgeberry leaves and fruits did indeed provide a lovely foil for these caramel-colored disks.
A single yellow Sugar Maple leaf provided a lovely companion for this solitary pink-capped, white-stalked Russula.
These buttery-yellow caps were topped by a single Bunchberry plant.
A nearby stump was completely encircled by an abundant mass of similar butter-colored mushrooms.
This snowy-white button poked up from a lush green patch of Brocade Moss, where a golden Silver Maple leaf and a scarlet Red Maple leaf rested nearby.
I was drawn to peer more closely at this cluster of rain-wet tawny caps when I noticed them speckled by dozens of teeny-tiny Snow Fleas.
A single pink-capped mushroom had emerged from a bed of red sphagnum moss, edged by a patch of glossy-green, red-berried Wintergreen plants.
I ventured a few steps onto the bog mat and found lush mounds of this shaggy green sphagnum.
Here were Northern Pitcher Plants, too, still bearing the remains of their summer flowers.
As is usual in much of the Adirondack forest, Hobblebush shrubs predominated. Most bore yellow or wine-red leaves, but this shrub stood out for its leaves of brilliant ruby.
After a while, the rain stopped and the clouds began to lift, allowing me full view of the forested mountains as I descended the road home. As this photo reveals, the full spectacle of autumn's glory awaits in the week or so to come. The show has just begun!