“Leaving home one morning in late October, we paddled through several lakes toward a high, rocky ridge where we knew [oaks] they grew. A storm had stripped the color from shorelines and islands, and where a short time before the maples had flamed and the hills had been golden, there was now no remnant of the glory they had known. As we drifted toward the ridge we searched the shores for a last cluster of leaves which might have withstood the storm, some little oak tougher and more resistant than all the rest.
In the shallows were the remains of the color, the yellows and golds and reds, moving slowly, shifting position with the movement of the water, covering the bottom with an ever changing kaleidoscope of pattern and light. And then far up on the ridge we found what we were looking for, a lone spot of dark red, a final gesture of defiance to the storm, the only bit of brightness in that whole blended fusion of grays and browns and greens. We beached the canoe and began to climb discovering that the way was hard – sheer cliffs, tangled gullies grown with hazel, windfalls one on top of another all the long climb up. At last we emerged on a smooth, barren ridge, and there was a small clump of scrub oak, its leaves still intact, their dark and shining mahogany a triumphant banner over the deserted battlefield. Whipped by many storms, the little clump had been beaten into a shape that seemed to embrace the glaciated knob of granite on which it grew. This is what we wanted. Here were character and strength”
-Sigurd Olson, The Singing Wilderness