Sometimes I can't believe how lucky I am. While much of the world is in terrible turmoil, from savage warfare or scorching wildfires, shattering earthquakes or ravaging hurricanes, death-dealing famines or years-long droughts, here I live in peace and plenty, the weather so far only moderately affected by climate change, among people who mostly solve their differences without killing each other's children. I also live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, surrounded by millions of acres of forest and mountains made lovely by lakes and rivers and tumbling streams. And all I have to gripe about is how dull our autumn foliage seems to be this year. Well, shame on me! In fact, our autumn is plenty beautiful, as I discovered this past week, while visiting two favorite Saratoga County woods and waterways. Here's some of the evidence to prove it.
Moreau Lake, Back Bay Trail
One place I'm always sure to visit in autumn is Moreau Lake State Park, where masses of Black Huckleberry shrubs line the north shore of the lake. These shrubs are famous for their vividly scarlet foliage in the fall. But darn it all, they sure looked pretty drab this year!
When I reached the north shore of the bay, I was delighted to find I could walk along close to the water, since all summer long, the lake's water level had risen right up to the woods. My friend Sue Pierce and I call this stretch of the shoreline "the Odonata Shore," because it is always alive with dragonflies and damselflies, but we hadn't been able to walk here yet this year.
It is truly impossible to imagine a scene more beautiful or welcoming to paddlers than this one was, with the river so still it perfectly mirrored the surrounding forested mountains in all their autumn glory.