By Adam Estabrook
For all the activities and attractions the High Country has to offer – be it excellent climbing, challenging hikes, or fine food – one could hardly fail to notice the trees. Whether driving from one place to another, or enjoying nature firsthand, the horizon is filled with familiar green leaves.
Those familiar green leaves take on a brand new hue come the fall, and with a new season right around the corner, so comes the change in color.
Dr. Howard Neufeld is a professor of biology at Appalachian State University, and he is just as concerned about the changing colors of fall as we are. Famous for his observations and predictions, he’s better known publicly as the “Fall Color Guy,” and he’s where many of us get our information on what to expect from our beautiful trees.
Last fall, the High Country unfortunately was not blessed with its usual gorgeous colors, due in part to warm temperatures in September and October months. Dr. Neufeld expressed his disappointment last year on both the Fall Color Report and his Facebook page, although his optimism came through in his latest Fall Color Report on November 4, noting that in spite of the bad weather, “…we weren’t entirely without color, and there were some locations with good color if you searched hard enough.” Color enthusiasts would do well to keep an eye on his pages, where he often specifies dates and locations concerning the turning leaves.
This year seems far more hopeful. On the future of our current season, Dr. Neufeld commented that we can expect “a more normal and robust leaf color season.” Colors might come a few days late, given the above-normal temperatures this September. As far as when to look forward to the changing colors, he said, “At any rate, I’m looking for peak colors in the High Country anywhere from Oct. 12-20. If we get higher temps, then slide those dates later by three to four days.”
For regular updates, follow his Facebook page, Fall Color Guy, where he gives ongoing thoughts, reflections, and photographs of the turning leaves. He posts more in-depth updates on his university page: Fall Color Report. Check in for updates on current weather and what to expect as the season progresses.