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Fall colors getting brighter every day

Maples display their brilliant mix of reds and oranges Friday afternoon along Saranac Lake’s River Walk, which is now fully reopened after construction. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

The best thing that happened to me on Thursday was finding the long-lost hex wrench I use to raise and lower the seat on my bicycle.

After riding all summer long with my seat a little too low, I brought it up a couple inches, and on Friday, I took off on a three-hour ride on crisp, sunny and somewhat breezy afternoon. Part of my mission was attempting to discover how far we are along in Saranac Lake in regard to the autumn colors. My determination: We’re getting there.

In the three decades I’ve lived here, I’ve found that the colorful fall foliage in my Adirondack home is second to none and not to be missed. But once the reds, oranges and yellows really set in, they can tend to disappear fast, so I try to soak up as much of the fall scenery as I can, while I can.

My afternoon ride took me all over Saranac Lake and into Ray Brook as well. I pedaled on busy roads, back roads, trails through the woods, over gravel and even on the railroad tracks, which was the bumpiest part of my little jaunt. On three occasions, I hopped off my bike near different bodies of water and searched for birds. Highlights were seeing a heron and a kingfisher.

According to the adirondacksusa.com website, Saranac Lake should now be at about 20% color change toward peak foliage. After my ride, I think that’s a pretty close assessment, which means there should be a fair amount of time left to cherish the colorful transformation from summer to fall and then, ultimately — dare I say it — winter.

This maple leaves illuminated by sunshine under a stand of pine trees near the shore of Turtle Pond in Saranac Lake are a mix of red and green. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

So with that in mind, enjoy the autumn’s wonder while you can, because it can go fast, especially with the colder temperatures moving in. Once the colors are gone, we’re another entire year away from what I believe is the most spectacular time to be alive and outdoors in the Adirondack Mountains.

A great blue heron wades in a patch of withering pickerelweed along the railroad tracks near North Country Community College Friday afternoon. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Brandon Lane and his daughter Vivian enjoy a Friday afternoon stroll along this recently completed section of the River Walk near the Dorsey Street Parking lot in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

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