Friday, October 23, 2009
It was my plan to do a fall color post from the moment the Old Salt and I left on what we have dubbed our "Last Hurrah" trip. I was delighted to find two of my favorite memes, that I seldom have suitable shots for, both have an autumn theme this week. So I am going to kill three birds with one post, so to speak.
I will admit that spring is my favorite time of the year. The rebirth and vitalization of spring awakens my senses and gives me hope and energy that all will be well for the remainder of year. But, who cannot love the colors of Autumn. The snap in the air, the urge to hibernate, the joy of finding a sunny spot to soak in the sun's warmth before it disappears into the icy chill of winter.
Autumn for me has always signaled the beginning of quality family time. As a child it was nights huddled with cousins listening to the stories coming from the grownups gathered around the kitchen table with steaming mugs of coffee. Endless trial and error with each tiny piece of the newest jigsaw puzzle spread out on the dining table. Countless games of Slap Jack and Old Maid played with my siblings while sharing popcorn balls and candied apples we made together.
These days it's the excitement of neighborhood children as they scatter the piles of leaves their parents spent hours raking. The excitement of the children as they choose the costume they will wear for Halloween. The joy of seeing my siblings and their children and grandchildren all gathered around the large granite counter in my sisters kitchen, heads bowed in prayers for the blessings of family each Thanksgiving Day.
As I age fall has become a time to catch up on the books stacked on the bedside table, watch the movies I missed in the theater, and fill catalogs with post-it notes of items to be ordered for the Christmas holidays. But, this year fall was all about our big "Last Hurrah." The trip to end all trips. Instead of sitting home doing the usual I was out snapping photos of everything that crossed my path in twelve states. I knew as we hit the road that we were not headed into the part of the country that would provide the best autumn scenes but I was confident that I would return with lots of shots of great fall color. While many of my photos this trip were snapped through the windshield as we sped along the interstate highways I was determined to record the best of the nations autumn colors by state. What I found is that a big section of the country we visited does not have the same kind of fall season that I am use to, growing up here in the. But here comes my report on the best fall color I was able to capture on our "Last Hurrah" travels.
midwest. We left home on Sept 18th and as this first photo shows the trees had barely started to turn.That did not change all the way across the state of Missouri and most of Kansas. I found Kansas to be a lot of flat land with drying corn stalks, baled hay, grazing cattle and many rust colored fields of sorghum . In fact I had a tough time finding some autumn color in Kansas to share with you.These dried grasses and a few goldenrod like plants along the highway was the best I could come up with.
Colorado was our third state and the color did improve somewhat. Besides all the shimmering golden Aspen, the best shot I could find among the nine thousand photos I took was this hillside just outside of Black Hawk.
In state number four the landscape was full of color, everything from the pale grays of the granite mountains to the plentiful deep red boulders, but, very little of it showed signs that autumn was anywhere near. This shot of the curving highway as we climbed the mountains gets my vote for the best fall color for the parts of Wyoming we traveled through.
Utah, our fifth state, is better known for the great salt lake and the white expanse of salt flats than for an abundance of the colors that speak autumn to me. But, I did capture a few gold and orange trees on this hilltop overlooking this distant butte.
As we crossed into our sixth state, Nevada, I was remembering the rugged dry desert that surrounded the town where the Old Salt and I were married. I did not hold out much hope for finding what looked like my kind of autumn color there. I am sad to report that other than some beautiful orange/gold flowering brushes growing along the roadway (which I suspect are that way all year) I didn't find anything representing fall. I'm told that if we had ventured off the interstate at Elko and into Lamoille Canyon I would have found all the color I could hope for. But, in the part of Nevada that I traveled the best I can do is this photo of several large trees at a rest stop that was covered in clusters of red berries. Actually, they looked and felt more like miniature apples then berries so for that reason I had to give them my best fall color vote for the state of Nevada.Sorry Neveda, maybe next time.
I did not hold out much hope for finding autumn shots in our seventh state of California either. My only other time spent in California was in January 2003 when I went out to visit with the Old Salt before our marriage. I remember that January being full of vibrant flowers and lots of green so how would I find fall color in September? Truth is I never did. I was told that I was a few months too early. Even an afternoon spent at the botanical gardens near Del Mar did not produce anything but colorful flowers and lots of green despite a very chilly temperature. Would the home of the Saguaro Cactus, Arizona, fair any better? We crossed the entire eightth state from Ca to NM and the best I could come up with was this shot where the sun was causing a golden glow to cover this area near the ghosttown of Goldfield.
I choose this shot taken in the town square in Santa Fe as my best representation of autmn taken in our ninth state of New Mexico.
Just before leaving New Mexico we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for dinner. We struck up a conversation with the couple at the next table and learned that they were fellow Missourians who had traveled all the way from Branson, Mo that morning in a very heavy fog that had them pulling over several times because of poor visibility. They wished us better traveling conditions than they had and we set out. The improved weather never happened and we crossed the panhandle of Texas (state # 10) in the same soupy fog, without taking a single picture. If there was fall color in Texas it was hidden behind a endless sea of mist. We spent the night in Shamrock Oklahoma hoping to wait out the fog, but the next day it leap frogged us across the eleventh state with only a few breaks clear enough for picture taking. This dilapidated building was the best of autumn shots for the state of Oklahoma.
Our stay in Arkansas was cold, wet and occasionally foggy as well. But, fall color as I know it was reentering the landscape and this shot taken in Siloam Springs got my vote for the best autumn shot taken in state number twelve Arkansas.
I have to admit that it took coming home to Missouri to find the best Autumn colors. These were taken in the Pilot Knob and Branson areas.
And these fantastic fall colors and lots of fallen leaves were awaiting us on the street where we live.
And the best of all was found right in our own back yard.
To visit the Autumn shots on Photo Friday click here.
to visit all the entries at the Bloggers Community Photo Challenge click here.