Sunday, October 30, 2016

October 30, 2016

We returned from our trip last night, and I was pleased to find some trees still parading their colors in the Lakes Region.  All along the thousand mile drive through the Appalachian mountains, over hills and through valleys, watching the trees vary from full green leaves to bare branches and everything in between, I wondered what we would find back in New Hampshire.  Even on this dreary Sunday there was enough color to brighten the day. 
Oak, beech, and blueberry dominate the colors in late October

The bright reds and yellows of the maples are mostly gone, laying on the ground in various stages of decline;  now is the time for the oaks, the beech, and the aspen to take center stage.
Beech trees glow in the lower levels of the forest

Aspen leaves preparing to make next summers fertilizer

The trees weren't alone in making changes while we were away.  The beaver were also busy constructing large piles of debris along the shore of the lake. 
Multiple piles of beaver debris along the shoreline

These piles are large enough that I wonder if someone is staking out this territory for a new lodge.  After a year or two in their parents dwelling, the young are banished from the lodge and must find a home for themselves. 

Last week I mentioned hickory trees we saw in Tennessee.  On our last few days in North Carolina we saw another interesting tree that I haven't seen in New England, though it it does grow in this region:  the Mountain Ash. They had large bunches of beautiful red berries that stood out against the bare branches and blue sky.
Mountain Ash in the Smoky Mountains

In the southern Appalachian mountains they grow only above 5000' elevation, sometime alone among the spruce as above, sometimes in large homogeneous stands.

A stand of Mountain Ash above 5000' on Mt. Mitchell, North Carlolina
As pretty as they are, I still think the red maples of New England are the most stunning of the eastern trees
It's time to enjoy the last vestiges of autumn;  the drab gray of November will be here soon.

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