Yes, good fall color remains in the Piedmont. And the weather — temperatures in the low 70s under mostly sunny skies — is looking pretty good for getting out and finding it. That’s our objective for the weekend with these recommendations. First, our three hike recommendations:
If you get the urge to check out fall color in the next couple of weekends, a bit of advice:
Don’t go where the leaf peeping experts say to go.
Their advice gravitates to the easily accessible go-to color hotspots, mostly along the easily accessed Blue Ridge Parkway: Graveyard Fields, Rough Ridge, Price Lake … . Sure, photos taken within the past few days scream chamber-of-commerce-certified color, but they’re screaming it to the tens of thousands of others looking for a quick autumn fix. A fix that can be had without venturing too far from the car. With a classic fall forecast for this weekend, expect those hotspots to be just that in more ways than one.
Not only are we setting up for a colorful fall, we’re getting it early. After several years of mostly mediocre fall color, the stars — actually, the temperature and the sun — have aligned for what already looks like a great fall color show.
Good fall color depends on several factors, the key ones occurring in September and including:
This morning I went out for an early hike. The air was crisp and clear, not a cloud in the sky. The trees were just beginning to show color. And it was brisk: I could have used a long-sleeve shirt.
After a moment of blissful basking, I remembered a map I’d seen the day before showing the extent of the smoke from the western wildfires that so far have burned more than 3.7 million acres. The haze from the fires extended from coast-to-coast, blanketing most of the West and following the jet stream into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Much of the country is affected by these fires (there are 26 major wildfires burning in California alone). Fortunately, we are not.
We’ve got another gift-of-fall weekend coming up. There might be some rain Sunday, but at this point Saturday looks ideal, with lots of sun and temperatures in the upper 50s to upper 60s. So many ways to take advantage of weather like this, weather that won’t be around a lot longer. And as today’s video shows, there’s finally good color moving into the Piedmont.