By Lynn R. Mitchell
The autumn leaf color was somewhat muted Saturday under overcast skies but the golds, reds, and oranges were still vibrant along the mountain ridge tops of Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway. Fall colors have been running about a week behind this year and so we have been able to stretch leaf season longer to embrace and squeeze out ever bit of this once-a-year event. Because it is fleeting, it is treasured.
Our destination was Peaks of Otter to meet up with the kids for lunch at a rustic table along the creek in their picnic area. As we drove along, every curve in the road brought another view that seemed even more stunning than the one before …
… red oaks, golds, scarlet and orange maples … a Joseph’s coat of leafy hues splashed across mountainsides and into valleys and along hiking trails and rock ledge overlooks.
Crossing the James River on the Blue Ridge Parkway and looking west.
Fog crept into the mountain woods and crossed the Parkway in wisps as the sun lowered in the overcast sky.
As a child camping with my family at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park, I would be in awe as the wind swept those wisps of fog across the roadway in the campground, and my sister and I would run through them and around them and chase them. It felt like walking in the clouds with the dampness on our faces, and that feeling remains to this day. Yesterday we watched as fog strings skittered across the parkway and filled the autumn woods with smoke-like paleness, something that always brings up thoughts of the pioneers who lived in these mountains before us. How isolating it may have felt to be completely socked in when the clouds dipped down to earth and blocked the views of mountains, trees, and the road. For a few minutes on Saturday I thrilled again at being among the clouds on top of Virginia’s mountains.
This week has rain in the forecast which will cause leaves to let loose and flutter to the ground, leaving stark bare branches … the return of the winter woods.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Blue Ridge Parkway, Peaks of Otter
October 24, 2015
Lynn, these are absolutely BEAUTIFUL pictures – and bring back so many memories. As beautiful as Fall is in New England, Fall in Virginia gives it a ‘run for its money’. Mom
Lynn, your photos remind me of fall/winter at VPI in the forties, and why I jumped at the later chance, years ago, to work and live in B-burg. Unfortunately, that chance didn’t produce the income I needed to support my family of five. Have always enjoyed going back for fall football or class (1947) reunions. Just too much of a drive now from Midlothian. Fortunately, not too far to Staunton. YLSF