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""Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns""
On the ground, driving Skyline Drive or hiking the park's trails, sumacs continue to blaze rainbow tones, like a rack of color samples in a paint store. Hickories, birches, and sassafras radiate happy hues of sunshine. (Even when it’s raining, when you see these gold-hued trees smiling at you, you’re fooled into believing the sun is coming out – arboreal mood lifters!) Goldenrods are fading, but purple asters continue to glimmer like moonbeams. One young maple stands proudly at Meadow Spring parking, offering every upbeat Day-Glo color you can imagine.
Fall oozes slowly this year. There’s still a great deal of green – lodens, olives, limes. Low Gap, the tuliptree-filled area around mile 8 on Skyline Drive, is still mostly verdant, sporting only touches of yellow-gold in the very tops of the trees. Hillsides of oaks and evergreens still defy the color wheel of fall, providing a lovely backdrop to the polychrome patches of gums, maples, hickories, birches, and beeches.
That’s the color THIS week. Remember, though fall seems to be coming on slowly this year in the Blue Ridge, it can change mood and tempo as it so desires – quickly, without warning or permission. It’s a mercurial season. Like a woman in the old saying about the fairer sex, fall reserves the right to change its mind at any time. Come to Shenandoah to find out for yourself how autumn is progressing in the Blue Ridge.
This fall color report will be updated on Friday, October 17, 2014, so check back then to see how things are coming along.
*Shenandoah staff will post a weekly fall color update each Friday through October. Reports are based on the writer's observations during the preceding week. Please keep in mind that the park is more than 100 miles long and spans a wide elevation range. Fall color conditions can vary dramatically from area to area. Weather affects the color from day to day and even hour to hour. It is impossible to predict a peak. We will do our best to give accurate reports, but please remember that many variables contribute to conditions.
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