Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park is in Putnam County and rather inaccessible to us public transport types. But a friend who lives nearby joined us and we HOVed there to explore a tiny bit of the 16,000 acre park, walking around Pelton Pond. This was originally man-made and then CCC-improved, and except for the strange square drain in its southwestern end, looks as natural as can be.Farmers, charcoal burners, and iron miners cleared out the forest from colonial times on, but these enterprises themselves cleared out by the late 19th century. Fahnestock was the guy who started buying up the land in the early 20th century.
Hemlocks and hardwoods have come back nicely, and the beeches were still holding onto their golden leaves the other day. Except for a few people and a dog or two, it was quiet — indeed, I heard and saw a total of only two birds, with Pileated Woodpecker sign making for a ghost presence — but there was plenty of evidence of beaver.And a lodge:
But it was a fungi day, the mushrooms putting on quite a show:In a knot about eye-level, a toadstool in a hole.
Under the appetizing “Slimes, Jellies, and Crustlike Fungi” section of my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms, I find Red Tree Brain (Peniofora rufa).One of the Ganoderma polypores, I think. Certainly the largest I’ve ever seen, by far. It was sitting next to a stump, having been ripped off a tree by someone earlier, and piece of the host wood was still imbedded in its base, where my overexposed thumb is. I wanted to bring it home to let it dry out, but wiser heads restrained me (my apartment is getting crowded with natural history objects, making the whole space something of a wunderkammer). Besides, we had nothing large enough to carry this away in. A pizza box would have been perfect.