Photo today was taken by Skip Sickler of Grandfather Mountain
It is a rainy, semi-miserable Friday here today. I’ve received a ton of interaction from around our mountain communities over the last few days. I’ve got a ton of news to share about new web camera locations going LIVE and other assorted news. I’ll try to get to that over the weekend. Typically this time of year, Saturday’s are good for that. So perhaps check in with us tomorrow, mid-morning.
One quick share. Talia Freeman from up at Beech emailed me that they were getting all of the chairs placed on the new lifts early this week (Wednesday) and they are excited. I was hoping to get up there, fly the drone and film that, but just didn’t get the time to do so. When this rainy system clears out, perhaps I can do that Sunday or Monday of next week.
Speaking of Beech, we’re still working on getting the LIVE feed from up top at the SkyBar running again. That’s an older camera and we’re trying to get the “paddles on it” to revive it. We’ll see.
A Good Time to Talk ‘Leaf Gawking’…
I’m going to provide you the best of the best in terms of local reporting of fall colors from over the last 5 days or so.
Let’s start with an outstanding photo of what we SHOULD be seeing right now in terms of color:
Will Mauney is a good friend and an amazing photographer from Banner Elk. He actually was a part of our marketing team for a short time a few years back. Will is the kind of outdoor enthusiast that most guys have inside of them to be – but can’t quite find the time for or even allow themselves to be. I think most of us have a nomad spirit within us that speaks to us at special moments. However for most of us life just kind of gets in the way.
For Will, that would be inexcusable. He’s well traveled in hiking, biking, skiing, white-water rafting, grass skiing, you-name-it outdoor activity circles nationally. The more possibilities that you could get hurt while enjoying that activity, the more he seems to partake in it. I’d have to sit down for quite a while to document and share all of the bones he’s broken and injuries he’s sustained. …and yet he’s always back at it as soon as his body will allow him to be – and sometimes too soon after.
The photo above was shared by him on his Instagram account and is actually a bit of a “cheat” as the photo was taken in mid-October 2016 and his sister and pup are in the photo taken atop Hawksbill.
We are not seeing ANYTHING like that so far this fall-leaf season. You kind of have to get your fall-leaf-gawking fix in short bursts and where you can find it right now. We’ve shared this many times already this Autumn, however typically mid-October is peak leaf season and by now, we’d be almost bare and awaiting winter snows.
Truth is, things are nice in pockets of color, but for the most part things are still kind of muted at most locations and seemingly still a week or more away from peak.
I know the highways and byways will be PACKED again this weekend with travelers looking to find that color…so…
Let’s Share Some Local, Fall-Color News…
While our buddy Will Mauney is a real-life spiritual nomad, we are more the “digital nomad”, relying on technology to share the exploits and reports of others who are out there doing the legwork.
Maybe some of you can at least attempt to be a “Quick Time Out Nomad” and make time to drive up to your favorite mountain and discover some joy of your own. The weather may hamper things, so monitor the weather and make that trip up accordingly.
Here are some shares:
Comments from you guys and gals:
Tammy Partridge shared:
Mike, I was driving around the Parkway on Sunday and I can tell you that the winds were howling at times and blowing leaves off of trees everywhere we traveled. While we saw some nice color around the Lynn Cove area, it was still scarce and there was lots of green.
That is the sentiments of Dr. Howard S. Neufeld of the Department of Biology at App State, who is also known as “The Fall Color Guy”.
That’s sort of been the story here this fall – just about everything that could go wrong for good fall color has happened this year: I said for good fall color we needed cool, sunny weather, starting in September. Instead, we had record warmth and excess rain and clouds. I said we needed to avoid rainstorms with high wind, and we had two hurricanes. As a result, I think we are going to have a sub-par fall foliage season. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no color and 10 being excellent, I am going to rate this season as between 2 and 3. That’s the lowest I’ve ever rated it in 11 years of doing this! Bummer!
We’ve noticed muted color here and there and color is popping out, but there is a noticeable lack of brilliant red colors – which is something Dr. Neufeld mentioned as well.
We’re seeing a lot of rust color – yellows and oranges.
He added, “To add to the mess, many trees at the higher elevations have already lost most of their leaves, so those hillsides have a gray appearance now.”
Another share…of a Social Kind…
Thanks Starla Dear, whoever you are!
An Update from yesterday…
Dr. Neufeld’s latest:
Just a note: one of the Great Smoky Mountains Park sites says that colors are progressing there methodically, and should get better and may hold on until the first week or even second week of November at the lower elevations in the Park, like Cades Cove. I’ll be heading out on Saturday to check colors again and will post something later that evening.
Thanks Dr. Neufeld!
Feel free to drop me an email at [email protected] and check back tomorrow for more news from around the region as we start looking at ski news….