Scouting Cherohala Skyway for fall color October 3

Since we have had strange weather this year, I decided I would go out and start scouting a little early for fall color in the souther Appalachians and on the Cumberland Plateau. Today I started at the Cherohala Skyway since the elevation gets up to above 5400 feet. We started out with dry weather in June, but since then we have had reasonable rain and not terribly hot. Driving out of Tellico Plains was overcast and foggy, but you could tell the Tellico River was nice and full. I opted to go up and over the Cherohala Skyway (Cherokee NF and Nantahala NF) since the elevation gets up over a mile high. I decided to save the area around the rest of the Tellico River and Bald River for later.

I was welcomed with the sight of dull yellow leaves starting to change just a bit until I got up to the 4000 feet elevation point, then you could start seeing some reds and oranges from oaks and maples just starting to turn. There was still a good bit of green amongst all the trees, even at the higher elevations, but change is evident.

It seems the trees on the NC side were just a little more advanced in color than the TN side, so I will start there first a daybreak on my next visit sometime early next week. I will try to hit the Smokies at least every 4th day to give a progress report and save some time for the Cumberland Plateau and the Cherohala Skyway each week. From the looks of things, I think peak at the highest elevations is 2 weeks away and peak for the lower elevations will be the last 2 weeks in October and possibly into the first week of November. Stay tuned..

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