Fall foliage in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Another day in another forest, this time the largest in Wisconsin. It covers over 1.5 million acres in the northwoods, but it is not all contiguous. Originally it was two separate preserves – the Chequamegon (west) at 858,400 acres and the Nicolet (east) at 661,400. Both were established in the 1930s and merged into one management unit in 1998. I didn’t hike in either of those, but in a third section located further south. All sections together are approximately 2,344 square miles.

For a little while

There are so many trails that it’s hard to narrow it down. The one I chose is actually a section of the Ice Age Trail – the Lost Lake Esker trail. An esker is a geological formation left behind by melting glaciers. They are typically long, skinny and rise dramatically above the rest of the landscape. Unlike ridges left behind by earthquakes and tectonic shifts, eskers wind and bend through the landscape. The trail actually follows the top of this one and it goes to 80 feet above the surrounding plain.

Dive in and play

This time it was a sunny day which makes for an incredible time in the woods. The shifting light in the canopy, the glow from the foliage. It was magical.

Headspace

Of course there were beauties closer to the ground as well.

Moving between pieces

Some of my favorite bokeh in this next one…the little tree fronds and the sporophytes. Bliss.

Illusions in G major
Unpuffed

More beautiful bokeh and sporophytes. The light is so sweet in this one.

Inspectors

Is that enough? I have more. You have been warned.

But there was a lovely stream as well and it presented its own visions. I love the abstract playfulness in water; frozen, still or moving, it always gives me something different.

More persuasive
Lose your balance

One of the things I decided to emphasize in post processing is the softness of the leaves and the light, even though it was direct and unfiltered by clouds. It’s an intriguing dichotomy and I hope I had some success in showing it off.

Fleeing the giants
Shuffling days

And guess what? More mushrooms!

Gently off the edge
A crowd of onlookers
Unwrap the joy

 

 

 

 

 

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