Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trees, Rocks, Roots And Fungi On Windham Mountain

The hike from trail head to the summit of Windham Mountain was reported to be only 3.3 miles. That's not very far, but it also had an ascent of almost 1800 feet. I was getting unusually tired and moving more slowly. The green Catskill forests, however, were lovely and I made it a point to watch them and try to appreciate their beauty:

And the forests were ever-changing. From mixed hardwoods we entered a spruce forest. Someone had placed large flat stones on the trail for use when the ground was muddy:

And after walking over many rocks, many of them with sharp edges, we passed through a long section where the tree roots were exposed. As I walked across them, I more and more regretted my decision to wear sneakers:

And there were spruce seeds on the ground in small clusters. Apparently a squirrel or bird had dined here:

The trail turned sharply uphill once again:

Up, up we climbed - and I was moving slower and slower:

I'd just been wondering about all the beautifully colored mushrooms I'd seen on the Jug End Ridge trail and wondering why they were so dull here. I began wondering if there were any green mushrooms and there in front of me was this specimen. I know it isn't very green, and what part of it is green is probably from algae. Nevertheless, I counted it as a sort of milestone - my first and only green(ish) mushroom:

Higher and higher we climbed, my aching feet stepping on sharp rocks and exposed tree roots:

And while they were not particularly colorful, this pair of mushrooms was by far the biggest I'd ever seen, perhaps 10" tall:

And this tiny golden fungus. I thought it must surely be coral fungus, but after a Google search I've decided that it was Yellow Staghorn, AKA Jelly Antler. What wonderful, descriptive names!:

The trail leveled out again and we were walking right across the bedrock. It makes one wonder how on earth those trees can find a place to take root:

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