Overview

Description

Many leaves are changing, or already on the ground, while a fair number are still green! In most years this area has had a frost by mid-October, but not in this case. It's neat to see the start of the "see-through" season begin, when the forest loses its dense walls of green.

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Elevation

Details

Created by: CNHM
Distance: 1.4 mi
Ascent: 38 ft
Date: 10/15/2016
Duration: 96 min
Descent: 774 ft
Difficulty: Beginner

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Points of Interest

deer prints
Fresh sand where the Forest Service removed the old water pump provides a great tracking substrate.
chokecherry
While not flashy, the rainbow of pastels on the chokecherry shrubs was lovely.
oxeye daisy
One last brillant flower (non-native) in the meadow.
Pearly everlasting
The dry petals of this sun-loving plant stay "fresh" looking all winter in their own natural flower arrangement.
greenish bracken fern
Not all the ferns are dead and brown yet!
goldenrod seed head
From fluffy yellow flower to fluffy gray seed heads.
Red maple
When red maples have good soil and moderate sun, they don't need to produce the red pigment that protects their nutrient-retrieval operation in the fall.
undecided blackberry leaves
Purple or green? Most plants have chosen one or the other, this one wants the best of both worlds.
pine needles dropping
While pines keep half to 2 thirds of their needles for more than one year, a portion of their needles do fall off. It's comical to see the needels stuck on every bush and branch and other species throughout the forest!
Starflower
With its pale yellow fall colors, the leaves of a starflower become their own pretty blossom.
Indian pipe
These parasitic flowers lack chlorophyll because they steal sugars from trees using fungi as the intermediary. A complex life for a beautiful plant!
Bark beetle frass
The bark just peeled off this snag, revealing the sawdust-like frass (poop) of some type of bark beetle that was munching just under the surface. By spring, the frass will have melted away, and just the carvings in the wood will be left. Interesting tracks to follow in any season!
Bunchberry
This four-leaved bunchberry didn't flower this year -- only the six-leaved clusters have enough energy to produce flowers and fruit. Still, it adds a beautiful accent on a bed of moss, and likely funnels energy to a flowering neighbor through underground stems called rhizomes.
Bunchberry with leaf miner
This bunchberry leaf didn't produce a fruit, but was food for something nonetheless. Leaf miners are the larvae of moths, beetles, and flies that are tiny enough that they can eat between the surfaces of a leaf.
tamarack
Our only deciduous conifer bears cones but loses its needles each fall. We're lucky it does, because wow, what a show!
The Bog
This is a special place in any season.
Mushroom in the sphagnum
I didn't see many mushrooms in the woods, but a few small ones still nestled in the sphagnum moss in the bog.
podgrass
The dry seed pods of this unusual little bog plant are hiding among the stems.
spider web
While insects are getting sparser, spiders are still trying to make a go of it!
Cotton grass
This specis of sedge produces fluffy seed heads that look like something out of Dr. Seuss!
Pitcher plants
The leaves of pitcher plants are evergreen, but add a red pigment to their leaves called anthocyanin that acts as a sunscreen.
cranberry!
Cranberries turn from cream to red in the fall, and improve in flavor after a frost.
Fen sedge
Grass-like plants in bog have their own lovely shades of fall.
Labrador tea
This bog plant is lovely in any season, but its fall colors were absolutely spectacular on this visit! Some leaves will remain and be evergreen.
puffballs
The main season for puffballs was weeks ago, but this tiny clump was making another go of it. Edible, but hardly worth it.
Maple-leaved viburnum
These were the only two berries I spotted in the whole patch! They are excellent wildlife food.
maple-leaf viburnum
The berries are gone, but this shrub looks ready to catch a falling leaf!
Woolly alder adelgids
Just like most aphids, woolly alder aphids suck plant juices from a host. The alder plant harvests sunlight, water, and air; the aphids harvest the alder’s sap; and then the ants harvest sugary...
Mushroom with tooth marks
Humans are the only ones who love mushrooms! Squirrels, deer, and more enjoy a fungal snack, and they can eat many mushrooms that we can't.
another woolly alder adelgid colony
Just like most aphids, woolly alder aphids suck plant juices from a host. The alder plant harvests sunlight, water, and air; the aphids harvest the alder’s sap; and then the ants harvest sugary...
scarlet waxy cap
These bright mushrooms just carpeted the forest floor last month. This month only a few old specimens could be seen.
old puffballs
These have dried and wrinkled a lot in a month! They continue to release spores.
purple jelly fungus
The light was low, but the color was too neat to pass up. Don't forget to investigate mossy logs for cool stuff in the woods!
Aspen leaf miner
A small, brown moth with white-fringed wings laid an egg on the leaf petiole (stem) back in July. By September, a translucent larva hatched and bored into the petiole, causing the stem to swell a bit...
daisy fleabane
Small white flowers hide in the warmth of prairie grass.
Blazing star
A brilliant purple flower gives way to fluffy brown seeds.
Red lanters
One way to hunt partridge is to make a plan. . . . Another way is to wander, quite aimlessly, from one red lantern to another. . . . The lanterns are blackberry leaves, red in October sun. . . ....
Unidentified pink
While this flower isn't pink, it is like in the "pink" family, which get's its names for the deep divide in each petlas -- like a cut made by pinking shears.
Red oaks
Red oaks live up to their name this time of year!
fall colors in the parking lots
Beauty is everywhere!
Winterberry
The bright red, astringent berries on witnerberry plants usually stick around long after leaf-off to make a pretty picture against the snow. The berries preserve well, but aren't as nutritious, so birds usually leave them for later, and eat the fattier, shorter lasting berries first. Not so this time! Something has already scooped the goop out of several berries!
goldenrod gall
The chewing action of the goldenrod gall fly, Eurosta solidaginis, does more than just facilitate eating. After a female gall fly deposits an egg into the stem of a goldenrod plant, the egg hatches in about ten days, and the larva immediately starts eating the stem from the inside out. The chewing action and the larva’s saliva, which is thought to mimic plant hormones, cause the goldenrod’s stem to thicken into a dense, round gall.
Juncos
Sometimes nicknamed snowbirds, darke-eyed juncos breed in the north and fly "south" to Wisconsin and the upper Midwest for the winter. They can be spotted in flocks, especially on roadsides, and a flash of white on their tails is a key to identification.