I can smell autumn dancing in the breeze.
The sweet chill of pumpkin
and crisp sunburnt leaves.
~Ann Drake, 2013
I found this quote recently, and had to share it with you. It was the perfect opening to a picture heavy post from our hiking over the weekend with friends here from out of state. They wanted to see some waterfalls, so we took them to a few lesser known areas of Transylvania county, knowing that the Blue Ridge Parkway would be overcrowded this weekend. It wasn’t their first visit to local waterfalls, so we could go a bit farther off the main roads. We were all hoping to see more brilliant color, but this year it just isn’t to be. It has been too warm and too dry. The drought has made it hard for the leaves to stay on the trees long enough to have pretty color before falling off. The warmth has delayed the change in color, which needs a good cold snap to make that change. You can see that in dramatic detail with these 100-ft trees next to our home, some that are bare too early and more that have yet to change color.
On the road, the color is sporadic like this spot, but it won’t be the brilliant color of past years. A brisk wind over the past few days brought down a lot of leaves just turning brown.
Still, nothing beats a walk in the woods no matter what the season. This is the path to the first waterfall view of the day. It was chilly, we had to wear jeans and sweaters, but it was worth it. It was one mile to the waterfall.
The first waterfall we hiked to was Log Hollow Falls. It is way off the beaten path of the Blue Ridge Parkway or DuPont Forest. Small (only 25 feet high) and tucked away, we had the place to ourselves to listen to the gentle running stream, hear a rustle of leaves, and marvel at the quiet beauty.
Back to the car, we drove over to Whitewater Falls near the SC border. This park is more of a draw, with a nice parking lot, a paved walk to the observation point, then 154 wooden steps down to the bottom. Going down is easy, coming back up is a bit hard on the knees. This picture is from the observation point, some color in the trees but still a lot of green. Whitewater Falls is the tallest in the eastern US, falling a total of 811 feet. This is the upper section, 411 feet.
Whitewater Falls bottom section falls another 400 feet.
From the bottom, you can get a view of both sections.
Another view of the upper falls.
While we were in that area, I was able to take a picture of Lake Toxaway. This area is still mostly green, and probably won’t reach peak color until mid-November.
I did find this tree with beautiful color, lovely red leaves against an azure blue sky.
Another short drive south of Rosman, there is a privately held property with a waterfall. They allow visitors to respectfully visit on their property. The falls drop 60 feet down a rock face, lovely and a bit unusual in the rock formations.
The rock at the top has a curve to the right, which makes an interesting pattern to the falling water.
Lovely, isn’t it? The leaves are scattered around the moss covered rocks.
Downstream a bit, there is a little bridge that leads to a small raised platform with a couple of chairs to sit and enjoy nature in all her glory.
Moss covered rocks channel the water between creating a calming environment, a perfect way to relax.
Here and there, brilliant color can be found. This scarlet red and orange with some gold was all on the same tree.
If you love that first quote as much as I did, there is a free printable on Ann Drake’s website with a lovely image – HERE.
I’ll leave you with this lovely thought.
When autumn dulls the summer skies,
And paler sunshine softly lies
Upon the brown and fallow lands:—
As fairy artists come in bands
To paint with brushes dipped with frost:—
They pay with gold, for verdure lost…
~V.O. Wallingford (b.1876), “The Cottonwood Trees”
How are the views at your place?