As the days shorten in the Fall, deciduous trees withdraw chlorophyll from their leaves and colours shift from greens to yellows.
We have two classes of deciduous trees around the Lake: ones with broad leaves and ones with needles (conifers). In popular vernacular, the broad–leaf trees are the ones known as the deciduous trees, and the conifer trees are known as evergreens. Yet around here, we have a deciduous conifer: the larch. Indeed, there are two species of larch, the western and the alpine. Among broad–leaf trees, we have the trembling aspen, the black cottonwood and the paper birch.
These trees generally populate different ecological niches. The broad–leaf trees favour valley bottoms and are often seen along the edge of the Lake, particularly on creek deltas where their roots thrive in the wet soil. The larches are more commonly seen on steep well drained soil.
Of course, trees are not the only local things to become brightly coloured in the fall.
This is a characteristic division of deciduous trees along the lakeshore: the cottonwood with their cumuloform tops crowd the edge of the Lake; the western larch with their slender rather–uniform pointed tops habit the adjacent steep mountainside. The leaves of each has turned yellow. Generally, any larch on the lower mountainside will be a western. The alpine larch are found much higher in the mountains.
Autumn leaves on aspens along a ridge above the Lardeau River
Cottonwoods crowd the shore of the Lake
Cottonwoods on the delta of Laska Creek (Atbara) peek out from beneath the stratus.
An Alpine Larch in the mountains above Proctor.
An Alpine Larch on Meadow Mountain with Cooper Mountain in the background.
The density of these trees and the uniformity of their tops suggests that they are western larch.
Bright orange, the lobster mushroom is found on the West Arm and at the Coast.
Similar to the lobster mushroom, the orange–peel fungus is found at the Coast and in parts of the interior wet belt.
There is a time in the Fall when the view of Sphinx (over 2800 m. in the Purcell Mountains) as seen from the West Arm presents an irresistible combination of water, trees, and snow—well worth a fanciful interpretation.