Autumn in the North Carolina mountains is usually a glorious time of blazing color. Some Autumn color would fit right in with the Autumn Jubilee event this year, reminding us that with the quilt along, sew along, stitch along, new recipes and projects, there should be a day to just enjoy the season. So today, we take a breath. This year the colors are a bit late and somewhat muted because of the warmth we’ve had over the month of September and October. It has only now been cold enough at night to stop chlorophyll production in the leaves and let the natural sugar colors begin to show. At our house, there is still green everywhere. This past weekend, we wanted to show some autumn color to our out-of-town guests, so we needed to go to a higher elevation. They enjoy hiking, so we decided to get a very early start and go to Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Graveyard Fields got its name from the mounds of rotting tree stumps that formed there hundreds of years ago from some kind of wind event. The mounds looked like tombstones. Later, in 1925, a fire destroyed the area trees and the mounds along with them, so there isn’t any hint of this today. Part of the area did get affected by the wildfires from last winter that took 3-4 months to fully extinguish. Another factor this year is the wind blowing the leaves off the trees too soon, from the hurricanes Irma and Nate that made their way across the area. Many trees have been stripped of their leaves before they could turn color.
But, no matter, there is still some color and the hiking is good. The trailhead at Graveyard Fields has two starting points off the parking area. Last time we went, we took the Lower Falls route, so this time we decided to go to the Upper Falls. The hike was 3 miles round trip.
Along the way we did see some pretty colors here and there. This should have been the peak weekend for color at this elevation.
Some parts of the trail have arbors of rhododendrons. These will be covered in flowers in springtime.
Reaching Upper Falls, we stopped to rest and enjoy the view.
There is something so relaxing about the sound of the water and the beauty of the area.
Breathtaking and unspoiled.
Rock formations like these are quite prevalent all over western North Carolina along the waterways.
So serene. There is time to stop, observe, and breathe.
A solitary orange leaf sits on the rock above while the water gently flows below.
Hiking back out we took another trail out, and some of the marshier areas in the lower part of the hike had walkways. These were nice, as a lot of the trail was muddy.
Coming back to the parking area, one last look at the view covering the trail.
A turning maple with the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance.
Next time we will get back to Autumn Jubilee with continuation of the quilt along, more giveaways, and more fun. I have more projects coming up, and another Autumn tablescape. I am currently working on two more quilts, a couple of DIY projects, and more recipes. I am making another tomato pie later this week, as I still don’t have that one set to my satisfaction.
Is there color where you are?
PS – Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Aurifil Threads Giveaway drawing, and some really great prizes are coming up in the next posts for even more goodies!!
24 thoughts on “Autumn Hike at Graveyard Fields”
It’s like this in the Shenandoah Valley too. We hardly have any color, but finally got some much needed rain. Hopefully the cooler nights will bring out the color more.
Ohh, I want to do that walk!
Here in the burbs of Chicago, we are having the same problem. As I look into the woods behind us, there is way more green than color, and the storm we had over the weekend that dropped 8 1/2 inches in about 33 hours definitely contributed to the denuding of many of our trees. Our silver maple is still totally green, while the other trees are showing spotty color here and there. Mother Nature definitely had a hand in the lack of beautiful autumn color. I so enjoy your blog and all the beautiful photos. As you know, there are NO mountains in our neck of the woods.
Lovely pictures. Intereting fact how the Graveyard Fields got its name. The color is delayed also here in southwest Michigan, but at least we finally had some rain over the weekend.
This is so beautiful! I drove over the crest of the Sierra with my son last weekend for a 2-day getaway. It was a gorgeous drive with lots of natural color on the hillsides! I’m ready to sew my stars, but had a cortisone shot in my foot yesterday, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to sew today. Hopefully soon! They are really tempting me all laid out!
Thanks for making me look out the window! Our dogwoods are red and lovely, and the redbud has lost most of its leaves, though turning a little yellow. Tulip Poplar leaves turning a little yellow too. Everything else looks pretty darn green here in the St Louis area. I miss that sound of water on the rocks…very soothing indeed…here is a different sound with fewer rocks and more gravel and sand. Nice in its way also.
These photos remind me of a trip we were able to take to Asheville a lot of years ago. It is so pretty there! Lovely photos and so glad you were able to get out and take a hike! There is a little color here, but not much. They said it might not be super colorful this year due to the dryness in the last month or so. Have a good day!
Thank you so much for the lovely . We are in central NY and our colors are like yours. rather dull .The sun is shining and it is so nice out.
Fabulous photo’s, as always. At first it looked like the hills were covered in mist. I also loved the ones with the rocks and the water flowing through them. We were in Cornwall last weekend and the beach was full of rocks and yours reminded me of them 🙂
Loved the photos of the waterfall, simply beautiful. I live fairly close to Linville Falls and do enjoy a hike there every now and then. Grandfather Mountain is close by as well. Of course, Roan Mountain is not too far away with breath taking views as well. Our leaves seem to have turned brown and fell off before they could turn beautiful. I’m always so jealous of all the beautiful places you get to visit and then I start listing the ones close to me and think, I live in a great place too. Just love reading your posts, so entertaining.
not much color do to the no rain here and we are still warm too we mostly have oaks and nut trees so not allot of colors anyways but in town where there are some maples I can see gorgeous reds and the sumac here does have pretty reds I would have enjoyed your hike-beautiful and I always love the sound of water too-a nice reward for the hike
So beautiful, Carole! Thanks for sharing your hike with us!
What a beautiful hike you enjoyed, such great photos and descriptions. Love the rock formations and waterfalls….could almost hear the water cascading down those rocks. Yes, we have lots of wonderful color going on here in southern OR. A friend arrived yesterday to visit from CA, formerly from here, and she is enjoying the color again. Looking forward to your jubilee continuation!
what a beautiful hike – I miss hiking but don’t want to go by myself – hope hubby gets back to feeling well this winter so that we can get back to our outside adventures.
Hello Carole; This was a beautiful post, plus you always include as much information as you can about the area and the history and that makes your post that much more interesting. I am going to share this on facebook with my hubby and then on my page for my family/friends to look at also. I know they will enjoy it! The colors of fall are definitely making their appearance here in Southern Oregon. Kevin and I love, even just the ride into town, to point out to one another the spectacular array of colors and beauty to one another. Like you we live in the mountains and have trees all around us that are changing and many are dropping their leaves already, due to the lack of moisture this time of year. I am looking forward to more of your posts on Autumn Jubilee. Have a great day!
Up here, south of Boston we are just beginning to see some spotty color. It appears to be running late everywhere. Still have my fingers crossed that the color will come. 🙂
The area you hiked in is beautiful. Glad you mentioned the hurricanes blew off most of the leaves. At first, i thought the trees had died. The gum trees sprinkled throw the woods here are vivid red/purple and some of the oaks are turning golden brown, but still more green than anything. I’m enjoying the crafting fun this month.
Your photos are stunning. Thanks for sharing them.
Beautiful photos, Carole, especially the ones with rocks and water. Lots of colour here with the Spring flowers.
There’s nothing like a mountain stream winding it’s way past boulders. I love your blog!
Looks lovely there. We took a motorcycle ride a couple of weeks ago in the mountains to see the changing colors.
Carla from Utah
Such a beautiful landscape! Lovely post 😍😍😍
I love your beautiful photos. Thank you so much for sharing them. Our Autumn color in mid-Michigan has been spotty. Not the best year to see the leaves in their glory, but there are individual trees or small clumps that are Lovely.
It’s been late and the colors have been subdued in Maine as well. We are probably in full color now. Best time of day to really see colors is early morning.
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