Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fall Colors

OK, so summer is officially over. Kids are back at school, baseball season is coming to an end, and gas prices (finally!) are starting to come back down from their summer highs. For those of you lucky enough to live in or near the woods, the leaves on the trees are getting ready to go out with a bang (just in time for hunting season, so take care).

In other words, it’s fall foliage season, which means it's time for scenic “leaf-peeping” drives along winding mountain roads. Over the next month or so, maples, ash and other deciduous trees all over the country will be enjoying one last burst of glory before succumbing to their winter's sleep. The best colors tend to be found in places like New England and Appalachia, but you can see fall colors in almost every state. For example, in Arizona, look for the reddening oaks and maples of the forests around Flagstaff, near the Grand Canyon off old Route 66. In California, from now through mid-November look out for the yellowing leaves of the quaking aspens, which stand out against the evergreen forests of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, high above one of my favorite roads, US-395. In Colorado, aspens and cottonwoods are turning out along the fabulous Million Dollar Highway.

No matter where you live or travel, there are a number of great web resources that will help you get an idea of where you might go to make the most of this intense natural spectacle. A good starting place is the US Forest Service Fall Color Updates pages. See your tax dollars at work!...

Another place to go is the Foliage Network , which posts up frequently updated reports of color intensity, like the one above. Pretty nifty, huh?


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