Fall Color Report

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...
Post date: 10/11/2016
 It's rainy and dreary in the mountains today, as we're getting some light rain bands from Hurricane Matthew. The wind has been gusty also, but lucky for us, the trees are holding on to most of their leaves. Some of the yellow leaves and early turning maple leaves have been lost due to the wind, but the winds weren't too strong and most leaves are still on the trees.The colors have started to jump out now – they are mostly the yellows and oranges of the birches, poplars, magnolias, and maples, but a few bright red maples, sourwoods, and black gums can be spotted on the hillsides now. The...
Post date: 10/03/2016
 Colors have started appearing, almost as if someone had slowly turned up the color saturation on the forests, just like you can do with your digital photos or TV, and during the week, they have become gradually more noticeable. Although green is still the dominant color, we are finally seeing the beginnings of the color that attract all of us to the mountains at this time of the year.However, we won't see really wide-spread colors until the next weekend. So, if the weather holds as it has for the past week, with mornings getting down into the 40s and highs in the 70s, this should push...