Smoky Gold

Smoky Gold Tamaracks

The leaves are pretty much down in the Crane Lake area, but the Tamaracks are turning their beautiful “smoky gold” color.


The Tamarack, or Eastern Larch, is the only conifer tree that sheds it’s needles in the fall. They like to grow in wet areas along with Black Spruce, and at this time of the year, they make a striking contrast to the dark green of the other conifers.
The wood is very sturdy and straight. Years ago it was used for house frames and fence posts. The Native people used the roots to make baskets, shoeshoes, and sew the edges of canoes.

Tamarack cones

The diminuitive cones of the Tamarack almost look like little roses. The northern birds that frequent the area in the winter use the seeds from these cones as a food source.

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1 Response to Smoky Gold

  1. Steve Ring says:


    I just wanted to tell you how impressed I am with your site. About a month ago we hiked to Dovre Lake, and last weekend we hiked the Herriman Lake Trails to Little Vermillion (including Knute, of course). The trails were gorgeous.

    When I returned, my wife showed me your web site. I really like your natural history posts and your photos. I know some people are put off by scientific names, but if you know them (genus, even), I really appreciate your including them for the plants.

    The archives are also great. I ran some searches (Herriman Lake Trail, Astrid Lake Trail) and received some great info. Also, I was not aware of the trail to the Vermillion River Gorge. I haven’t seen it since canoeing the Vermillion decades ago. We definitely will return to this area.

    We had intended to hike the Astrid Lake Trails, too, but while stopped on the Echo Trail photographing tamaracks across the Hunting Shack River, the battery in our van died. The tow truck landed us in Ely. The motel was not nearly as much fun as the Jeanette Lake Campground.

    Sorry for the long post. Please keep up the blog.


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