Jul 18 2009
“When are we gonna get our summer?” is a refrain I’ve been hearing a lot lately, usually bleated in petulant tones by people who look as if they haven’t walked more than ten yards at a crack since they left school. Still, it’s understandable that people would be disappointed to be cheated of fine weather. The residents of far northern New York look forward to summer from about the time of the winter solstice. There’s good reason for that. The cold season lasts from sometime around Halloween until Memorial day. Once the unofficial start of summer passes, people expect long hot days and tepid nights, and most years, they get what they wish for (and they end up complaining about the heat and humidity). This year the weather hasn’t been so compliant. It’s been cool and wet, with rainy days having outnumbered dry days. When it rains I hike, and the hikers I pass on the trails almost always are grumbly and morose. Not me! Why do I like hiking in the rain? With my camera packed in watertight bags and an umbrella overhead in the downpours, I find artistic inspiration everywhere I look. The following photos might explain…
The persistent rain weighs spiderwebs down with droplets which sparkle whenever the clouds thin and allow a ray of sun to pour forth. Every blade of grass, every long strand of hay supports its own burden of droplets. It’s impossible to stay dry when wading through these fields, but it’s worth it. Away from the fields and into the dripping woods this scene greeted me:
On wet days the colors are more saturated—colors are richer and more vivid—and the countless trapped droplets make everything more beautiful:
All those wildflowers called me, one after the other, to capture their loveliness:
Even the weeds with names I didn’t know were transformed from nondescript greenery into bejeweled finery:
The damp conditions have been just right for fungi, a widely varied group with a fascinating life cycle. You don’t need to know anything about the science of mycology to enjoy their beauty:
The pearly fungi above are Indian pipes, and they’re everywhere in the mixed woods overlooking The River. They emerge and are gone within a week, like most delicate fungi, such as these apricot jelly mushrooms:
Cool temperatures slow down cold blooded animals and make them easier to photograph, such as this pickerel frog:
Quiet backwaters at The River reflected the moody sky:
Clouds thicken and soon will pour another gully-washer:
With my belly screaming for dinner, it’s time to beat feet back home, but I could keep shooting pictures until dark.
On the hike out, I noticed that the leaves are already beginning to turn color. I guess we’re not gonna get our summer after all.
If you’d like to enjoy rainy hikes without getting wet, just visit our new Outside Up North Photo Gallery Enjoy!