Friday, November 11, 2011

Appalachian Fall

Living in Arlington, it is sometimes difficult to see how fall is transitioning to winter. While our apartment windows afford us a nice view of wooded parks and Arlington Cemetery in the distance, our immediate surroundings are dominated by concrete. We planned to visit the Shenandoah National Park at the peak of fall colors to get a true taste of seasonal change, but the last few weeks moved quickly. The region experienced snow and strong winds at higher altitudes during the last week, robbing trees of their cover earlier than we expected. We decided to take the trek today for our last chance to see the colors this season. We were not disappointed, although bare trees were in abundance. Photos and some comments follow.

Despite the end approaching, the foliage featured some burgundy and burnt umber. The views were spectacular.

We found some wonderful rock outcroppings along the way. Carter was a bit nervous to climb up, but enjoyed the view.

One of our goals during the trip was to see wildlife. We came upon several deer, but had our eyes peeled for the prize - a black bear. Visitors had reported sightings over the last couple of weeks and with the natural cover disappearing, we were alert. We saw no bears on our way in, and were close to halfway back to the entrance when we spied a bear near the road. We doubled back and watched him from the car. When other visitors joined us and left their cars, Erik ventured forth to take some pictures from a safe distance (situating himself nearby others who were likely to be slower on the escape). Our bear friend posed briefly, then ventured back into the forest.

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