I would have to say that Fall is my favorite time of the year, followed closely behind by Spring. My typical schedule in the Fall entails spending a week in September in Colorado, spending the better part of October in Georgia and the Mountains of North Carolina, early November in SW Utah and Mid-November in South Georgia for the Cypress trees. This year, that changed quite a bit due to different circumstances and a decision to spend more time close to our homes in Georgia and North Carolina. And I am certainly glad we did that. The more time I spend time in Western NC, the more I realize just how much there is to see and do there. Next year, I am hoping to spend half of October and November there to take advantage of the many photographic opportunities that abound.
So mid September I decided to head to Colorado for my annual Colorado trip in the Fall. Normally some off my kids are able to go, but now with three in college and the others busy with school, that was not a possibility. So I called a good friend from Atlanta and asked if he would like to tag along for 4 days and enjoy the Aspens in their peak colors. So we did a very short whirlwind trip and spent a day in Crested Butte, 2 days in Aspen, and the last day in Summit County. This year was a strange Year for Fall colors. Colorado was in a severe drought and had numerous wildfires this year due to those conditions. Top that off with less than average snowfall last Winter, and that is a recipe for serious problems. Some of the trees were peak, some of the leaves had turned brown and fallen to the ground, and many were still green. It was probably one of my most disappointing Falls out West from a photographic standpoint. We did get to hit some beautiful hikes, and it is always good to be outdoors in the midst of God's creation enjoying all that Colorado has to offer.
Normally by Mid October in the Mountains of Western North Carolina, the peak season is in full swing. Whereas Colorado experienced a drought this year, North Carolina had an abundance of rainfall and unseasonably warm weather right up until the first week of October. So we had a really late Fall season. We had some good friends from Estes Park come out to stay with us in the Mountains for 4 days hoping to show them the beauty of Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We did find some color along the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but not much else had turned below 4000 feet. We did get to experience a nice sunset on their first night and a cold front passed through the following day bringing howling winds, temps in the teens, and some beautiful rhyme ice with it. It looked like a Winter Wonderland, but it only lasted for a few hours. But we got lucky and timed it just right and we were able to shoot the better part of the day.
I had the opportunity to return to the mountains 10 days later, and wow what a difference those ten days made. The colors were gorgeous and the rainy/cloudy days made for perfect shooting conditions. We spent the better part of the short time I had shooting in Pisgah and Dupont Forest and the colors were at peak and the streams were full of water due to all of the rains. Still not enough time for me to shoot all that I wanted.I am going to have to spend some longer quality time there to really take advantage of all there is to see and do. Fall just doesn't last long enough. But I am thankful that I get to spend some time out enjoying it.
I made a return trip to the mountains some 10 days later, and the colors were gorgeous. The temps had been much more normal for this time of year, and the trees were peak. We hit areas close to our home and in the Pisgah & Dupont Forest areas for some incredible conditions.