We have hiked out to the Rock Dunder lookout several times and promised ourselves to get back in the autumn to view the fall colours from this spectacular platform. A combination of bad weather and competing events postponed our return visit until this weekend. With the autumn leaves now rapidly giving way to the forces of rain and wind, we made a hike a priority and revisited the Rock Dunder trail last Friday.
It was interesting to visit the rocky woodland in a different season. The reindeer lichen (Cladina rangiferina), which was shrivelled and dried up in the summer, is now springing back to life in brilliant silver patches.
With less vegetation attracting attention, the trees themselves were more conspicuous. I hadn’t noticed this Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) on previous hikes.
The green fronds of Rock Polypody ferns (Polypodium virginianam) brighten rocky surfaces.
Patches of Pale Corydalis (Corydalis sempervirens), also known as Rock Harlequin, were growing amongst the lichens and mosses. This dainty looking plant is actually very tough. It produces pretty, tubular pink and yellow flowers held on long stems across the summer.
The effects of our hot, dry summer could be read in the number of dried out oak seedlings and brown juniper shrubs along the trail. Those junipers that survived the summer were now thriving after recent rains.
I noticed this patch of silk in a half-curled leaf on the trail. It’s probably a hiding place constructed by a spider.
Finally, we reached our destination, the Rock Dunder lookout, and were rewarded with a beautiful view. It was a cool day, so cool that we spotted a few snow flakes, and the open rock surface was windy, but we stopped long enough for a quick lunch and a hot cup of coffee. Here are a few photos taken from the lookout. Rock Dunder looks out over the northeast arm of Whitefish Lake, north of Gananoque, Ontario.