Fall Color Report

Post date: 10/30/2017
  Well folks, it’s been a wild ride this fall color season. Below I summarize my thoughts on the colors this year as well as inform you that this will be my last posting for the season. The colors have mostly moved downslope and out of the High Country and some of these areas now coloring up are a little far for me to get to (considering I have another job that actually pays me!). I’ve enjoyed posting fall color reports, meeting a few of you, and answering your questions as best I could. I hope everyone who came to the High Country had a pleasant experience and will think about...
Post date: 10/18/2017
 I took a drive today down to Chestoa Overlook, about 4 miles south of Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I then worked my way back north to Price Lake and Cone Manor in Blowing Rock. The take home message is this: the best color can be found starting at the Yonahlossee Overlook near Grandfather Mountain and on up north to the Rough Ridge Trail on the Parkway. Even so, it is not yet at peak. There is still a lot of green, which means that next weekend should be even better. And it’s supposed to get cool this week, which should hasten color development. Other areas, such...
Post date: 10/02/2017
 Today I had the pleasure of hiking to the top of Elk Knob State Park with Dave and Jan Crotts, long-time followers of my fall color prognostications. It was the first time we had met in person, and we had a very enjoyable and leisurely hike to the top. Because of the low humidity today, the air was clear and crisp, and we could see for miles and miles.So, what is the state of the leaves? In one word: green! The warm period last week really slowed down color development. However, the past two days the temperatures have been cool, with lows in Boone around 43 F, and highs only in the 60s...
Post date: 09/20/2017
 Well, today's activities makes me think of the poem Maud Muller, by John Greenleaf Whittier (http://www.bartleby.com/102/76.html), which contains these immortal words:For of all sad words of tongue or pen,The saddest are these: "It might have been!"So what 'might have been'? Well I was out scouting the leaves and encountered a closed Blue Ridge Parkway just up from Asheville about 7 miles, and had to turn around. The Parkway was closed for the next 20 miles until Park personnel can remove downed branches and trees from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. This means I could not get to the...
Post date: 09/20/2017
 Yesterday I checked out Mt. Jefferson State Natural Area, just outside West Jefferson, NC in Ashe County. This is a really nice place to view fall leaf colors, and to just take in the spectacular views from the top. You can drive all the way to the parking lot there by the picnic pavilion and then head out on the main trail for about ¾ mile to the Luther Rock viewpoint. It's mostly level hiking, so it's an easy trip. There are several other trails that go off the main one, and they all loop back so you can't get lost.This area is dominated by red, black and chestnut oaks, along with red...
Post date: 09/20/2017
 Today was a beautiful day – clear blue skies, followed by a thin veneer of cirrus clouds later on, with comfortable, cool temperatures - perfect hiking weather. There were lots of people out on the trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway and at Grandfather Mountain State Park. I like to see people out experiencing nature – I overheard one young boy say that this was the best place he could remember. How great to hear something like that!I have posted photos that I took on my hike today. I found a new trail that I highly recommend – the Flat Rock Trail, about 3 miles south of Grandfather...
Post date: 08/21/2017
 Not much has changed yet. I did see a nice red maple in Foscoe, just south of Boone, where one branch has bright red leaves, what we call "flagging". Otherwise, my report from last week stands for this week too!I added in one more shot of a beautiful sunflower. How appropriate for today's eclipse. You can watch it streaming on the ASU website if you want.
Post date: 08/15/2017
 Well, there haven't been many developments since my post last week. I do include a picture of the dogwoods across the street from my house. You can definitely see them starting to color up.Otherwise we continue in our late summer weather pattern, with higher humidities, making it very muggy here. Still getting ample rain too.I just learned that my university is playing UGA over the Labor Day weekend - in Athens, GA. All I can say is, Oh my!I've also included a picture of Mila, the fall color dog, and some beautiful flowers.Hope everyone has a great week. 
Post date: 08/08/2017
 It has been an unusually cool summer here in the High Country. Morning temperatures have been as low as 48F, and this past week, in the low 50s. We had to put on a blanket last night it got so cool! Daytime highs struggle to get in middle or high 70s. And the humidity has been low. Absolutely perfect weather.Some trees have already decided that it's time to prepare for the upcoming fall. The dogwood in my yard has already started turning purple. Note also on the whole tree photo (below) that the purpling is most noticeable on the left side of the tree - that's the side that gets morning...
Post date: 10/31/2016
 Today I took the Blue Ridge Parkway North from U.S. 321 near Blowing Rock and went all the way up to Doughton Park. While the colors are past peak right on the Parkway, there were sections where the trees were behind and still in fine color, such as just north of the intersection with U.S. 421, and the forests at lower elevations were quite colorful. Throughout, the oaks have begun showing off, and on the ridges, the chestnut and scarlet oaks are turning a nice deep burgundy/red color, and on slightly moister slopes the white, black and red oaks too are turning red colors.The...