Fall is one of the most exciting times of the year in the North Carolina mountains. People come from near and far to visit and enjoy the beautiful autumn leaf color. There are festivals that celebrate the changing of the leaves and the fall harvests that are abounding from the summer crops.
As the community of Matney sits up at an elevation of 3,556+ feet, we are privileged to experience the autumn splendor at the very start of the season. Then, gradually watch as the color begins to fade and cascade further and further down the mountain, through the Piedmont, the Sandhills, and eventually to the coast. The whole fall color season can take as long as 2 months to cycle through. This makes the Appalachian mountains one of the most spectacular fall leaf displays in the world and a landscape painters dream!
Leaf Looker season begins late September, when the leaves of the Dogwood, Sourwood and Black Gum trees turn deep red to dusty purple. Poplars and Hickories, then burst into shades of golden color, while Maples bring on vibrant reds. The humble little Sassafras turns yellow, then orange, then red, and finally purple; an incredible transformation that takes place right before your eyes. Finally, as the season winds down for the High Country, Oak trees and various others, add touches of rich seinna browns, just for contrast. Even, the poison oak vines get in the show with their bright and fiery red leaves climbing high among the towering trees along the roadways.
This is an area rich with plenty of views and scenes just begging to be captured by the camera lens or an artist’s brush. Just imagine a canvas filled with all of the colors of fall depicting the serenity of the mountain communities where life slows down. Even, if all you have with you is a small sketch pad, pencil, and watercolor travel palette and a few brushes, journaling about the experience is well worth the time.
There really isn’t another place I would like to be during this spectacular show. Driving back and forth to work is a pleasure with views such as these along the roadway. There is even a song that exemplifies this feeling, a favorite of mine, written and performed by the Kruger Brothers of North Wilkesboro, N. C. and appropriately titled, “Carolina In The Fall.”
Listen to this beautiful song as you leisurely enjoy the colorful and exciting views along the back roads of Watauga County where I call home.
I would have to say that this has been the best fall color we have seen in a long while. The season is winding down now, and if you were lucky enough to be in the mountains for the show, I’d say you were lucky enough! But, if you weren’t, there’s always next year. In the meantime, you can at least see what you missed!
So, Have a Happy Leaf Looker Day!
and just remember…
Leaf Looker season in the mountains is like a box of chocolate… You never know what your gonna get or how long it is going to last!