The Southern Appalachian Highlands in Autumn
America the Beautiful

by Don Hyatt

Glorious Fall Color

The following images were taken during mid October of 2001 in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Depressed by the sad events of September 11 as well as talks of anthrax and potential terrorism at home, I decided I needed some emotional rejuvenation. On the "spur of the moment", I left my home near Washington D.C. just after a cold front had passed through and the weather cleared. The leaves were beginning to turn in my neighborhood, so I decided to take a ride to the mountains so I could see the fall foliage. It would surely be a pleasant change.

My trip lasted four days, but I could have gone for weeks. I stopped first at Roan Mountain on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina and then headed down to the Smokies. Finally I got on the Blue Ridge Parkway at its southern starting point near Cherokee and drove all the way to Roanoke Virginia before I got back on Interstate 81 to head for home. Before I left, the local news had been swamped with pictures of the war in Afghanistan and the dry, desolate region in which those unfortunate people live. Compare the "postcard" scenes I have presented here with images of Afghanistan, such as those on the website of the International Federation of the Red Cross. What a contrast! I drove 1350 miles in those 4 days. I hiked trails and mountain tops above 6000 feet; I saw incredible vistas that went forever and relaxed in peaceful valleys surrounded by the brilliant color imaginable. The entire time I kept saying to myself, "How fortunate I am to live in America the Beautiful!"

Roan Mountain

Vaccinium and Rhododendrons on Roan

View from the Trail on Grassy Ridge
6000 Feet in Elevation.

Saxifrages against the Rock

Lower Elevations

The Same Area in Springtime:

Springtime on Roan
Click here for spring pictures of Roan Mountain

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall Color from an Overlook

A Bend in the Road

Kalmia and Vaccinium

Hiking Through the Woods

Price Lake Near Grandfather Mountain

Maple Trees Doing Their Thing

Mabry Mill in Virginia

Another Overlook

Yet Another Overlook
I think I stopped at every one!
Check out the following site that explains The Chemistry of Autumn Colors by Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri who has great sites called Chemical of the Week and Science is Fun at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Copyright © 2001 Donald W. Hyatt

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