I felt pretty tired and sore, so I planned on a short hike today at Kickapoo. I started on the Riverview trail that I've been on dozens of times, and after the first half mile I was sure I didn't want to go much farther. But when I got up to Emerald Pond, I decided to do a little exploring, and I discovered that the peninsula that sticks out into the pond, that I thought was just a little fishing spot, is the start of a path that goes all the way across the pond (over a culvert that I thought was discarded junk) and then follows the river for a surprisingly long way. I think it passes through the Twilight Zone, too. I found myself in an almost familiar area, but a mowed trail that should have formed a loop just ended at a small trail into the woods, which went along a very steep hillside (it would have been impassible if the trail were even slightly wet) and came out at the spur of the Out and Back trail that joins the river. The way it lined up, the almost-familiar area had to be new territory. I backtracked along the mowed path that just ended and ended up coming out on the haul road. Like some alternate universe, one end of the trail was well-known territory but the other end was just wrong. I followed the Out and Back trail back out, and then completed the Clear Lake loop to return to my car, feeling better than I had half a mile into the day. I suspect my legs are not going to be on speaking terms with me for a couple of days, but I seem to have come back to the universe I started in. I've got to find a map and see if I can make it make sense.
There are very few flowers left and I only saw a couple of butterflies all day. We haven't had an official freeze, but the frosty mornings have pretty much ended the season.
That's most of the story, now here are the pictures.
Fall colors from the parking lot at the start of the Riverview Trail.
View from the boat dock at the start of the Riverview Trail.
Another view of Clear Lake from the parking lot.
Along the Riverview Trail, I looked up to admire the maple leaves against the deep blue sky.
When a distant scene is partially obscured by trees in the foreground, it is often very lovely in person, but it's very hard to capture in a photo. I did a lot better than I usually do here.
The one picture I cropped for presentation. I found a side path on the west side of Emerald Pond where I encountered this katydid.
Almost the only flowers were a few late blooming goldenrods. There aren't many insects left either, but several of them congregated on the flower.
Yes, it's another artistic grass seed shot. Tired of them? Tough. I'm not. This is in the middle of Emerald Pond, at the start of the unexpected path.
Looking up again.
The surprise trail follows the river. In one place it comes down to the bank and with the water so low one can walk out on the sand bar.
I need a person to stand by this fallen giant for scale. The trail goes under the tree; I did have to duck to get through, but not much.
The patterns the decay and bugs left on this log are fascinating.