* Remember to click on each photo to see it larger and in higher resolution! *
|The wind-swept heath barrens and boulder fields of Dolly Sods' high plateau come alive in the most vivid of ways |
come autumn when the chokeberry, blueberries and huckleberries are at their most scarlet!
|Blackwater Falls State Park is an absolute must when in the area regardless of the time of year. |
However, fall is especially nice when the gorge is spotted with the orange and gold colors
of changing maples and birch trees.
|Blackwater Falls from the other side of the gorge. The red maple at|
peak autumn glory was an especially awesome touch!
|Closer look at Blackwater Falls and its red maple. Definitely|
one of the more stunning views of the entire trip!
|Rolling forested mountains in peak fall foliage that go on and on and on.....|
|I could never get tired of this landscape and its ephemeral beauty this time of the year.|
|Ripened cranberries (Oxycoccus sp.) abound in the boggy muskegs.|
|Stiff clubmoss (Spinulum annotinum) and its spore-bearing strobili.|
|However, with some careful searching there was still some of the conspicuous|
narrow-leaved gentian (Gentiana linearis) blooming out in the muskeg meadows.
This was a life plant for me and one I was extremely satisfied to find still blooming!
|Northern bog clubmoss (Lycopodiella inundata)|
spore-bearing strobili hanging above its
sphagnum mat home.
|Zoomed out view of the bog clubmoss and its|
trailing vegetative stems with vertical strobili.
Such neat plants!
|Phenomenal peak foliage under a perfect blue sky on the eastern edge of the Dolly Sods plateau. This view faces north|
towards famed Bear Rocks of the wilderness area.
|Dolly Sods showing off as if it were the Fourth of July.|
|The upper reaches of Red Creek on the northern end of the plateau. This small stream quickly grows in size as it |
drains the entire Dolly Sods plateau and flows into a deep gorge at the southern end.
|Looking southeast over the mountain ridges and their corresponding valleys from the Bear Rocks area in the|
golden light of early evening. Sort of makes you feel like you're on top of the world.
|The golden light of the evening soon turned into a spectacular sunset with low light bouncing off the mountains.|
This was easily one of my favorite captures of the entire weekend. Such incredible scenery.
|A classic Dolly Sods sunset behind a pair of red spruce out on the heath barrens and boulder fields of Bear Rocks.|
|Clear cold nights and no light pollution made for some spectacular|
star watching. The streaks of the Milky Way were easily visible as well.
|If you click on these night time exposures and view them in a larger format|
you can see the Milky Way even better and in higher resolution.
|The fog-filled valleys and intense colors were awe-inspiring to say the least. I'll never forget this experience.|
|Champe Rocks emerging from the fog and mist, ensconced in autumn's finest.|
|The entrance to another world through which a small stream flows at Seneca Rocks.|
|Tawny cotton-sedge (Eriophorum virginicum) filled bog meadow along the margins of Spruce Knob Lake.|
|Our trip ended as it began with perfect fall foliage and clear blue skies. We took|
the long way home through the Gandy Creek valley on the backside of Spruce Knob and
could not have enjoyed the bumpy gravel road drive more.
Needless to say, the foliage and weather cooperated perfectly for last fall's trip. It was easily one of the most photogenic weekend's of my life and I'd put even more photos in this post if it wasn't packed with them already. If you haven't taken the hint yet and need to have it spelled out for you: go visit Dolly Sods already! I don't know what else could be holding you back if you live within a day's drive. Hopefully these last two posts have proven just how special and magical a place it genuinely is. Spring, summer, fall or winter, you have to experience the Sods!
- ALG -