This was a very interesting observation. The iron minerals in the ground precipitate as they cool and make a rust-colored stain coating on the ground (information gathered from the "Iron Mike" sign). Iron is a brownish-red color and will change the color of anything in its path. My second picture is of a small man-made stone masonry. The weather is partly cloudy, but mostly sunny. Tall coniferous trees block some of the sun, but allow light through their branches. Parts of the trail are covered in snow, roughly two feet deep at most.