Despite one frosty-cold morning this week, the daytime temperatures have continued unseasonably warm here in Saratoga County, inviting me outdoors to enjoy this beautiful season. The crazy-quilt tree-leaf colors have mostly faded to a uniform cinnamon brown by now, but I remembered that the roadside rocks along Spier Falls Road support a marvelously colorful variety of plants late into the fall. Offering views of both mountainside forest and the Hudson River, this is always a beautifully scenic place to walk, but never more so than in autumn. So off I went to enjoy it.
The Palmertown Range of mountains rises dramatically from the riverbanks here, with steep ledges of exposed bedrock crowding the roadside.
Trees, ferns, mosses, lichens, wildflowers, and woody shrubs all thrive in this rocky habitat.
Numerous mounds of Fountain Moss (Philonotis fontana) provide a constantly dampened home for the evergreen basal rosettes of Early Saxifrage (Micranthes virginiensis). In early spring, clusters of snowy-white flowers will emerge from these leaves, transforming these rocky ledges into breathtakingly beautiful rock gardens.