A not so glorious Autumn….

Well, the fall foliage was not exactly what we had hoped for this year.  Evidently, too much rain can be just as detrimental for the glory of the fall foliage as a drought.  However, despite the short peak leaf season, the weather did bring some positive aspects.

Saturday, October 17th brought snow to the top of the Smokies.  So much snow in fact that they closed the road going over the mountain on Sunday the 18th.  The leaves looked as if they were at their peak on top of the mountain about this time and so we  headed up on Sunday to see if we could get a few good pictures of the contrasting colored leaves and freshly fallen snow.  Alas we arrived about five minutes after they closed the road, so no snow pictures for us that day. 

tree2

The snow took all of the fall leaves when it melted.

Monday, October 19th, we drove over the mountain to the North Carolina side hoping to still see the leaves and the snow.  However, the sun decided to come out that day and melted all the snow, which in turn had knocked all of the leaves off the trees, so the top of the mountain now had its winter coat while the lower elevations were still in transition.

In keeping with the rest of the summer, October came with lots of rain and wind.  The leaves peaked in color in the lower elevations only for a few days between Sunday, October 25th and Wednesday, October 28th.  The wind and rain over Halloween weekend blew away most of the leaves that were remaining.

While this may sound like all of the Fall season was dreary and drab, that was not the case.  One spot that is almost always guaranteed to be glorious is a stretch of road on the way to Cades Cove.  You can’t miss it because it is filled with Hickorys, Maples, and I’m sure varieties of other trees whose combination make it a golden corridor and canopy.    If you are a photographer, a fisherman, or a kayaker, the fact that we have had a lot of rain actually brought a blessing.  The river is extraordinarily high and the waterfalls are running at full force where normally at this time of year that is not the case.  So, if you love to photograph water (as we do!) then this pleasure slightly offset the disappointment of the short season.

elk1Still one more bright spot in the season is that a herd of Elk have moved down to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center from Cataloochee.  You can’t miss them if you are driving to Cherokee through the mountain as they are in the field right next to the road past the visitor center!  Just look for the crowd of people stopped on the side of the road with their cameras :).

Even if the colors didn’t meet our expectations this year and it’s been a little wetter than we would have liked, Fall is always a wonderful time of year in the Great Smoky Mountains.  We are grateful and blessed not to be in the drought we were for the last two years.  Looking forward to seeing what next year brings.  Now, on to Thanksgiving….

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