It's been a while since I last posted. Things have been busy at work, and I haven't had a chance to get out on the trails. But today I rejoin you with some new observations.
One: more orchids. The roadside ditch which hosted the smaller purple fringed orchids last month is now sporting some lovely tiny white orchids. I'm not 100% sure what they are, but I'm leaning towards nodding ladies' tresses (Spiranthes cernua). Still, the flower head seems to be too short and stocky - not long and slender like it appears in the field guides. So, here are photos of the flowers up close, the entire plant, and just the leaves. Does anyone else want to render an opinion?
Also in full bloom, in the ditch and elsewhere, is one of my favorites: Eyebright (Euphrasia americana). A delightful, tiny, orchid-like flower, this charmer is in the figwort family.
Two: garlic. On Saturday I drove down to Sharon Springs (the country cousin of Saratoga Springs) for their Annual Garlic Festival. If anyone out there is a garlic aficionado, then I highly recommend this little festival. Lots of garlic for sale, of many varieties, and of amazing sizes! I went down to purchase bulbs for planting and came back with not only garlic, but also butternut squash ($1 apiece) and a lovely little handmade soapstone vase. I was duly impressed: the prices were right (most garlic only a dollar a bulb) and the size of the bulbs was more than one could've hoped for - sure beat what I got two years ago in Vermont. It was worth the almost three-hour drive!
This segues perfectly into number three: Route 10. To get to Sharon Springs, I drove down a road new to me - Route 10. What a beautiful drive!!! The Adirondack portion, which goes from just a bit south of Speculator right on out of the park, via Caroga Lake, is a wonderful winding road that passes some spectacular wetlands. I wanted to stop and stare - perfect digs for a moose! And yesterday, upon reading the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer, I discovered that the winding waterway that followed the road, which I was eyeballing as a potential paddle route, is indeed a paddle-able waterway: the West Branch of the Sacandaga River! It looks to be about a 10-mile paddle, recommended for two vehicles, but the current is supposedly sluggish enough that one can easily turn around and paddle back to a single vehicle waiting at the put-in point. I will have to do this trek and report back to you.
Anyway, as Route 10 leaves the Park, it enters the Mohawk Valley over by Palatine Bridge and Canajoharie. Farm country, over hill and dale. Very historic - wonderful old stone and brick houses and churches. One can almost feel the weight of history as one drives through this part of the state. It's been quite a while since I've been down that way, so it brought back some nice memories, almost like a home-coming.
And this leaves us with number four: the wind. Holy smokes what gale force breezes we had during the wee hours this morning! It was Hurricane Ike getting in a last word before finally dying out. It woke me up as it howled through my windows, and kept me up wondering if my row covers were going to end up in the next county!