Sometimes, especially after an early morning rain, I like to go deep into the woods along a small creek and make new discoveries. In this part of the mountains, the forest floor seldom sees direct sunlight, and the trees and shrubs reach up to gather what small amount of light gets through.
Even in late morning, everything is still wet, and the smell of decaying leaves fills the heavy air.
Hunter, the old Golden Lab, always looks forward to these forays into the virgin woods. There are no trails, and moving through the low hanging limbs and vines can be quite a challenge.
Small rock springs are scattered along the steep gully walls.
At the bottom, a meandering branch makes its way eventually to Otter Pond, much further down the mountain.
In the dark wetness, funghi burst forth like coral on a reef.
You almost feel as though Clown Fish should be darting around these unusual creations.
Turkey Mushrooms are very opportunistic when they find a decaying tree trunk along the branch.
Another variety of mushroom clings to a dead tree, with drops of rain trapped inside their spore filled folds.
Emerging from the forest just above Otter Pond, Wild Asters greet me with the advancing Sun. The aroma turns to pine and the dogs head for the pond, looking for water birds.