Archbald Pothole State Park commemorates a glacial-era phenomenon, not a road defect. I visited the park yesterday after a substantial rainy period; the sky was cloudy and dark. It turned out to be a good time to look down.

Figure 1. Red eft. Archbald Pothole State Park. Archbald, PA. Photo: author.

Timmy the red eft (figure 1) lives in a veritable jungle of moss and whatever those tall hair-like things that surround him are. Is Timmy even a he? Does it matter?

Figure 2. Red eft 2. Archbald Pothole State Park. Archbald, PA. Photo: author.

Timmy sensed my looming presence and got under a rotting oak leaf for cover (figure 2).

Figure 3. Someone made a meal. Archbald Pothole State Park. Archbald, PA. Photo: author.

Are there micro-beavers? Something ate the end of this birch twig making a messy meal of it (figure 3). The diameter of the shavings pile, or at least the central, densest part of it, is no more than 3 cm.

Figure 4. Another meal. Archbald Pothole State Park. Archbald, PA. Photo: author.

These brackets (figure 4) have taken a lichen to this tree. In the original I’ve just missed focus on the third bracket down, which is where I was focusing: the tip of its nose is soft. Either I moved, or the camera chose to focus on the bark of the tree.

Figure 5. Shale heap with leaves. Archbald Pothole State Park. Archbald, PA. Photo: author.

This area has a glacial moraine of rounded cobbles packed into loose soil, on the one hand, and sharply fractured slatey shale (figure 5), presumably tailings from mining activity. There was a coal seam only 80 feet below the surface here.

Figure 6. Devil’s Den. Archbald Pothole State Park. Archbald, PA. Photo: author.

Though geologically dissimilar to the Devil’s Den on the Gettysburg battlefield, these boulders (figure 6) visually remind me of it.

Figure 7. Topple in the making. Archbald Pothole State Park. Archbald, PA. Photo: author.

See the softened edges on these rocks, which were transported by water at the glacier’s end and deposited higgledy-piggledy with loose sandy soil here (figure 7). This tree is trying to buttress itself, but it’s only a matter of time til it topples.

Figure 8. Forest floor. Archbald Pothole State Park. Archbald, PA. Photo: author.

This is the image (figure 8) that made me think of ‘forest floor’ as a title. There’s no newt, but there really is a lot going on here. The moss is terrific in the park.

Nikon Z 7ii, Nikkor Z 24-200 mm f/4-6.3. Most shot at around ISO 1250, about 135 mm. Most were as open as the lens was able, f/6.3, as the clouds and trees made for quite dark conditions.

The high ISO made all of the photos noisy, and I used DxO to clean them up. Some I ran through Topaz Labs Sharpen AI or Denoise AI.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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