Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 16, 2011

Lake Wicwas is in the heart of the autumn season. The foliage is peaking, and the weather is fall-like, with highs around 60 degrees, intermittent showers, and brisk, gusty winds stripping the leaves from the trees - a stark contrast to last week. Some of the early-turning trees, especially those with their roots at the shore of the lake, have already lost many of their leaves, but most are still quite vibrant. The colors are so intense along the western shore of the lake that they appear artificial – but these photos are un-touched by anything other than the rays of the early morning sun just sneaking over the hills east of the lake.
Looking West Across Lake Wicwas

North of Lake Wicwas

With the leaves starting to drop, forest floor is collecting its new carpet of soft pine needles punctuated with bright maple leaves.  It makes for wonderfully soft and quiet walking.   
We took a hike up to Crockets Ledge and the White Mountain Ledge on the Hamlin-Eames-Smyth conservation area, and were treated to a sunny moment where the trees seemed to light up for us.
Crockett's Ledge

The colors from the White Mountain Ledge are not nearly as colorful; it’s interesting how in this direction there are mostly white pines, while on the western shore of the lake they are mostly deciduous.  Perhaps it’s due to logging, or just the different exposure and soil conditions.  But there were a couple of bright red maples in the mix.
White Mountain Ledge

We found many fungi still growing well, including this group growing right out from under the bark of a tree.

And some of them are huge!
Back closer to the lake I came upon a deer who moved quickly off into the forest, but I soon found this fresh scat that likely belonged to it or one of its colleagues.

Late in the afternoon a small rainbow appeared over the Chemung Forest during one of the quick showers.
There are still plenty of migratory ducks around - the hunters didn’t get them all (and I heard no discharges this weekend).  A flock of nine mallards stopped by in the mid-afternoon.

Today we took a walk up to Meredith Center to see the work on the new playground and park.  There was a lot of progress this week, and there was a crew working, even on a Sunday.  It’s going to be a really nice addition to the area.  Thanks are due to the very generous donations of the people who made it possible.
Meredith Center

There was also a baby shower taking place at the Wicwas Grange.
On the return walk we found an abundant crop of winterberry, with their bright red berries in clumps right beside Meredith Center road, as well a stand of sumac, turning orange-red.

This week we also enjoyed the apples we received last week, including one of the best apple pies ever!

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