Gathering together with children and grandchildren from 3 states, we hiked trails for two days in a quest for fall yellows in the mountains. Early October is too early for full fall colors but our expedition took us upward through shades of green.
We could perceive lighter shades of green in the trees in lower altitudes. The higher we climbed the more green we found in the form of moss and ferns and many shades of brown from fallen leaves that blanketed the forest floor.
We also encountered other browns on our mission to the top of the mountain such as this brown and white horse with his cowboy who, like us, was on an adventure to find fall color.
As we climbed, the terrain became a bit more precipitous and the rocks turned to moss covered bolders, perfect climbs for a troop of grandchildren with more energy than parents.
These late blooming native purple asters with orange centers attracted a wide variety of late summer bumblebees, moths, flies, and butterflies. They were a perfect contrast to the yellows that blanketed the meadow in the form of goldenrod.
Easily recognized with its large clusters of yellow blooms, the perennial goldenrod, Solidago, was putting on a big show and was a magnet for butterflies and numerous insects, including spiders and other predators. We were happy to observe the great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele) feeding on the nectar of the goldenrod.
After a brief rest, the hike downhill was a welcome reprieve for me.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester