Below are three quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882):
“Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on the mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.”
* * * * *
“Old age. The world wears well. These autumn afternoons and well-marbled landscapes of green and gold and russet, and steel-blue river, and smoke-blue New Hampshire mountains, are and remain as bright and perfect penciling as ever.”
* * * * *
“‘Miracles have ceased.’ Have they indeed? When? They had not ceased this afternoon when I walked into the wood and got into bright, miraculous sunshine, in shelter from the roaring wind.”
* * * * *
Yes, the leaves will be turning soon. For several weeks the mountain forests where we hike are going to be filled with a rainbow array of (sometimes amazing) color.
For obvious reasons, this is an especially popular time for hiking, country drives, “color tours,” etc. In the Northeast it’s one of nature’s most impressive displays.
I’m often asked, “when is the best time to see the colors?” My answer is usually: the month of October. But be aware that there’s no definitive, predictable schedule.
Depending on the weather and temperatures in early fall, the process can come early or late. It often starts in late September, and sometimes extends well into November.
However… because of an unusual cool spell in early September, we saw some extra early foliage on our 9/9/17 Appalachian Trail hike in the Hudson Highlands.
Most years the peak of color in the local mountains is around mid-October, but the time period can vary by as much as 2-3 weeks. This year’s surprisingly early start will probably be slowed and even temporarily stopped by more warm weather.
I usually advise against getting too attached to the “color show.” It can be gorgeous, but occasionally it’s subdued and a bit underwhelming. And however much color there may or may not be, this is always a splendid season for hiking.
Because of cleaner air and cooler nights, the colors are typically much more impressive up in the mountains than in NYC and other low-lying areas.
And in the Adirondacks, the site of our final camping trip of the year on Columbus Day Weekend (10/6-9), the foliage tends to be the most stunningly beautiful of all.
-- Charlie Cook