The days are getting shorter and the nights cooler. Some local areas in Asheville have leaves that are beginning to turn color reflecting the beauty of fall that is here. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great place to be this time of year. The lush green is turning to gold and some trees have orange and red leaves, but the peak of color is not yet here. It is coming to our area and each day brings more fall color to our landscape.
Driving North on the Parkway from Asheville leads up to Mount Mitchell, a North Carolina State Park that is still open, despite the government shutdown. The winding road of the parkway heading north brings a pleasant and relaxing morning or afternoon any day of the week. The beauty of the many rocks and different varieties of trees can make anyone feel calm and relaxed. Drive slowly this time of year because many animals are out and about with the cooler temperatures. Today as I drove North two white tailed deer crossed the parkway and this was about 1 PM. While the speed limit is 45 on the parkway, driving slower at 35 allows you to view many areas that you would miss. Driving slower lets you see the birds, the groundhogs, the squirrels and other small animals that are so abundant along the parkway. And occasionally you might see a bear or coyote running across the road.
The beauty of the parkway rests in enjoying it fully which means taking your time and stopping often to view the valleys and the many species of plants and birds that are so abundant. The nature surrounding the parkway changes daily. There are still some summer wildflowers left bringing in the extra splash of white and purple. The birds are still large in number and I am beginning to see species that are not found in North Carolina as birds begin to migrate south stopping along the parkway to eat and rest.
Hiking is great this time of year along the parkway and the trails are so numerous you can find one anywhere. There are many areas to pull off the parkway, and hike. Just be sure to bring some water and some snacks along with you.
So as we get more into the fall season, think of taking a drive on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to gaze at the colorful scenery along the parkway. Go slow and enjoy the animals as they come out to feed or move across the parkway. Enjoy nature at its finest!