A stroll along the red trail was my Halloween gift to myself.
(All of the candy I steal from my daughter’s enormous trick-or-treating stash is my November gift to myself.)
Here are a few shots from the trail to add to the celebration of the season.
Both moss (the yellow-green hairy stuff) and lichen (the blue-green frilly stuff) have made a home on this fallen branch. Both mosses (a type of plant called a bryophyte) and lichens (a symbiotic organism containing both a fungus and an algae) have lived on planet Earth for 400 million years.
What happens to a root trodden by innumerable feet. Tree roots that stretch across the trail develop interesting, flattened surfaces and knobs in response to being worn down by hikers’ shoes.
A marsh is a beautiful place to be in the autumn. Turtles basking in the last of the year’s warmth, minnows dashing among the lily stems, and geese heard but not seen behind the hillocks of sedges.
Autumn is a very romantic season. These two Ruby Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum rubicundulum) are taking time to make time, and the next generation. They will continue to fly in tandem while mating and even while the female deposits the eggs at the water’s surface. Dragonflies live most of their lives as aquatic insects that eat mosquito larvae. (Thank you, dragonflies!)
Sun shining through crimson maple leaves at the edge of the marsh.
A reminder not to lose your shoelaces . . . or maybe just to spend more time in nature.
A view of the Chesapeake Bay at the end of the trail. Most visitors spend their beach time searching the sand and wrack for fossils.
This visitor, a Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) has also stopped at the beach, but she’s here to soak up warmth in a patch of autumn sunlight. Her hind wings are a bit worse for wear, but she had no trouble flying.
You never walk the same trail twice, even if it’s literally walking back out the trail you just walked in. As the sun’s rays change their angle, different treasures are highlighted in the forest. I wish I hadn’t been in a hurry on my way out – if I had stopped to check underneath the fancy tops of these shelf mushrooms to see if their undersides were gilled or toothed, I could say for certain whether they’re Turkey Tail fungus or Violet Toothed Polypore. Either way, though, they’re still gorgeous.