Autumn Larch

autumn_larch

These beautiful trees are one of the few conifers that shed their needle-like leaves for the Winter.

Fast growing, statuesque, and elegant in the wind, Larches, also known as Tamarack, like growing in cool damp climates, and offer a stunning display of color at the time most trees have shed their leaves.

When the needles re-appear, their pale soft green intensifies through the Spring into the deep, rich green one usually associates with pine trees.

Individuals and stands of Larch can remain largely unnoticed, being mistaken for ordinary pines until this time of year, when they fade from summer richness to bright yellow, illuminating the last of Autumn, lingering color as Winter approaches.

Squall

squall

Strong frost and temperatures in the upper 20’s made it clear this morning that Autumn is ageing, unable any longer to maintain the warm, soft demeanor it had been presenting with few exceptions since Summer.

Than it happened – lunch was interrupted by weather rattling on the metal roof. A glance outside confirmed – the season’s first squall! Yes, most of the precip could be considered sleet, not fully crystallized, hard, stubborn, un evolved; a stern texture when compared with the myriad of instances of mid-Winter cold dry six pointed perfection one can observe on jacket sleeves, or as a favorite abstract pattern known as “Snow Flakes on Black Lab Coat”.

Wooly Bear Charge

wooly_bear_charge

While out in the yard this morning, I was charged by this menacing looking wooly bear.

This close encounter in which I narrowly escaped bodily harm, made me think how, in the past, I’ve always thought that wooly bears must not be a content community, rife with disagreement. Some wooly bears predict a long winter, some a short winter, some predict two springs.

My respect for these oracles dramatically increased recently as they seem to have come upon a consensus regarding the upcoming seasons: a long leisurely Autumn followed by a long Winter, punctuated by a short Spring.

In the interest of offering an absolutely accurate prediction, prudence compels me to reserve my personal opinion of what kind of Winter we will have until March.

However, faith in Mother Nature urges me to stock the pantry, purchase new warm long-johns, and clean the auto’s battery terminals.

Neither I, nor any of the folks I’ve asked can ever remember such a temperate, beautiful Autumn as we’ve been enjoying. Seems like Mother Nature is giving us ample opportunity to prepare in nice weather, for times upcoming that might require some serious hunkerin’ down…

Fall Fest

elk_fall_fest

The long weekend is almost upon us! This is about the busiest time there is between Summer and Winter.

The Elk Mountain Fall Festival is on both days this weekend. A great time to mingle with like minded ski buddies also eagerly anticipating the snow. Also a great time to visit the Big and Friendly especially if you don’t ride or ski. The leaves are peaked, many crafts people will be showing their wares, and a chairlift ride to the top of Elk mountain is something everyone should have on and check off their bucket list.

Idlewild Ski Shop holds their first fashion show Saturday evening, Crimson Tears rocks Stone Bridge Saturday night. The Steamtown Marathon starts from Forest City on Sunday, and the Annual Susquehanna County Artists’ Open House Weekend runs throughout the holiday.

Much more to be done – just check the Wanderlist – hope to see you ’round The Hill!

October

october

Yellows are fading, reds and oranges are becoming more exuberant. The grape leaves have yellowed, evidence of hard frost.

The yearly debate of when peak colors occur has been somewhat absent this season. Maybe we just don’t want to let go of Summer, and it doesn’t want to leave. The thermometer just nudged 80 degrees this afternoon, and without any gray or rain, indeed, if the trees were not so brilliant, one could convince themselves that it was still September.

Be that as is may, this will be another excellent weekend to enjoy the calm and beauty of foliage season. Whether by a hike up Elk sometime this week, or a chairlift ride at the Elk Mountain Fall Fest next weekend, one way or another, get out and enjoy this weather and these colors.

Some foliage seasons are somewhat pale, faded by rain and wind. This year, it is not one of those seasons – the colors are spectacular!