Fall has finally descended upon Western North Carolina. Nights are sharp and cool. During the day the sun shines bright through brilliant gold, red, and orange leaves. The landscape in the distance is a patchwork of color climbing up rows of mountains blue against the outline of the sky. My 20 mile commute to work goes by quickly– I am mesmerized along the way by the views in each direction. The sun’s rising and falling paints the land in new colors and during each drive it’s as if I’m seeing everything for the first time.
I made the most of this fall day off by taking a trip to Montreat, North Carolina. To get there from Black Mountain one must drive through a beautiful double arched stone entryway that gives way to the main road where a paved pathway ambles through the trees on either side. On a day like today when the leaves are at the height of their transformation, the view is simply stunning.
Once in town, I turned off the main road toward Montreat college– its large stone buildings rising up more like castles than campus buildings. I went hiking along Lookout Trail for a short ascent with amazing views.
The trail is a steady uphill climb. Wooden slats help one find her footing among the roots and leaves. Rhododendrons twist and curl across the path creating a tunnel that must be even more brilliant in the spring.
Layers of leaves dotted in color rose up along the base of the blue mountain ridges. The crisp air hugged my sweaty skin. Children climbed fearlessly in a ring around the top ledge while their parents traded stories from their pasts.
Just down the road from the trail head, Lake Susan offers a promenade for a beautiful stroll past a man-made damn and waterfall. An animal skull is posted by the visitor center where a hand-written sign in the dark and dusty window proclaims there are no regular hours.
Wherever you find yourself, I hope you have the time to go outside and witness the brilliance of the fall.