Time Lapsed Fall Foliage & Mountain Views

In 2011, Asheville was named as one of the most beautiful destinations in the continental United States by Good Morning America.  Nothing has changed around here since then in regards to beauty.  One never gets tired of the phenomenal expressions of grandeur that each of the four seasons unveils across the mountain landscape of Western North Carolina.


The Seven Sisters,  Fall '13

The Seven Sisters,
Fall ’13

Explore Asheville features an amazing video of the fall foliage from last year that is quite stunning.  Click here to watch this tribute to Asheville that takes you across the quilted colors of the fall mountains and valleys of WNC!  Peak season is upon us and will soon pass, so get out, take a hike and enjoy!

What (Not) to Wear?

This time of year is a favorite for many people.  Cooler temperatures, fall treats, first fires in the stove, and awesome color across the mountains here in Western North Carolina. About the only predicament this time of year is early in the morning while it is still dark outside, one stands in front of their wardrobe deciding what (not) to wear.  Is it going to be cool, warm, a mix of both?  These brisk fall days begin with a chill but what will afternoon bring? If it’s cloudy, it may stay cool.  If you are out in the sun, then you will most likely be warm. Dilemma alert!

Well, we have a resolution this fall that could help you all throughout the day, regardless of the weather. Solution…a vest. Product specialist, Jim Bourdy, at Take A Hike says, “If you keep your guts warm, so are your extremities!”

Patagonia Women's Los Lobos Vest

Patagonia Women’s Los Lobos Vest

For women, the Patagonia Los Lobos Vest  has been difficult for us and the manufacturer to keep in stock.  It is a soft, deep-pile polyester fleece that is reversible to a smooth, polyester ripstop for all-around comfort.  It looks sharp and comes in a couple of different colors, so stop in before they are gone ladies!

For the men, the Patagonia Men’s Adze Vest is popular, offering core protection from wind, rain, and cold.  It features Polartec® Windbloc® stretch-woven fabric with a moisture-wicking fleece grid backer that keeps you warm and dry in cold conditions.

Whether rain, shine, or overcast conditions, your solution this fall is the vest!  Stop by Take A Hike for these and other vest options as you confront your wardrobe this fall!  Stay warm! Stay cool!  Just get outside!

Fall’s Arrival in Black Mountain, NC

Lake Tomahawk, Black Mountain, NC

Lake Tomahawk,
Black Mountain, NC

Fall is steadily creeping down the mountain peaks into the valley here in Black Mountain, NC. The sugar maples are turning the brightest reds on display in years. There should be ample color quilting the valleys this fall in spite of all the summer rain.

Today I went for a walk around beautiful Lake Tomahawk. I drank in the cool autumn air, while the sun and fall colors danced through the low-level clouds, chasing away the morning showers.  I love the clouds that wrap themselves around the mountain peeks like fingers.

Appalachian State experts Howard Neufeld and Michael Denslow project that Asheville and surrounding areas will peak this week, but it seems like it will be a little later for Black Mountain. We can probably look at the next 8-12 days for true peak leaf season here in Black Mountain, NC.  Whether you go for a stroll at a local park, head out for a day hike, or a camping trip, stop in to Take A Hike for suggestions on local hikes, maps, and your outfitting needs for a jaunt in the autumn air! Whatever you do, GO…you won’t regret putting your feet to the ground for a stroll in the leaves!

What’s Up with the Woolly Worm?

Woolly Worm

Woolly Worm

Just up the pass from Black Mountain, the annual Woolly Worm Festival is coming to Banner Elk, NC the weekend of October 19-20. What is the back story on the woolly worms ability to predict the coming winter?  Legend or fact? What do those different bands of color mean anyway?  Well, to find out let’s turn back time to the year 1948 and take a gander at the “woolly bear worm,” as it was originally named.

Dr. C.H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York went north to Bear Mountain State Park to inspect these woolly little creatures.  He collected as many of these furry wonders as he could find and correlated the average number of reddish-brown segments, which he predicted would forecasted the upcoming winter in the surrounding areas of the park in NY.  Dr. Curran continued to experiment with the bands of color on the woolly bear worms for the next 8 years (read more here).

What do the band colors mean anyways?  Well, the worms have black and brown bands that compete with each other for space on the worm’s body.  Black is associated with a more harsh winter, and brown points to more a more mild forecast.

What does that mean for Asheville?  Well, that means you will have to go up to Banner Elk on the weekend of October 19-20 to find out who the winner of the Woolly Worm Race will be.  Last year the winner was “Lucky Split” whose stripes predicted a harsher snowy winter.  Well, for the record Asheville recorded a total of 4.7 inches, so I will let you determine whether or not you think that is harsh or not.

Regardless the accuracy of the woolly worm to be able to forecast this winter’s snowfall or temperatures, head on up to Banner Elk, NC for some fun and simply because these worms are national news every year!  Enjoy the fall foliage and a drive in the country side. If you need anything for your travels, stop by Take A Hike before you go!

Asheville’s Fall Forecast

Fall Colour

Fall Color
Grave Yard Fields

A great debate going on right now as fall is causing us to nuzzle deeper under our covers each night.  Just how brilliant will the leaf color be this year?  When is peak week?  Will the leaves be muted tones due to all the rain this summer, or will they be like a bright quilt of various bold colors laid out over the mountains?

Signs are pointing to the change. Driving down I-40 East just beyond Black Mountain a few weeks ago, amidst a wall of green leafy trees stood one maple that was already turning to its reddish-orange hue.  So far from my time in the woods (which is frequent) I have seen a lot of yellows, some rusty reds, and browns.  Fall around Asheville is beautiful from any angle, but a brilliantly colored fall is a favorite for romping around with the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet.

Well, enough for opinions and observations.  Let’s turn to an expert on the subject, Howie Neufeld, Professor of Plant Ecophysiology at Appalachian State University.  He believes that if we get enough sunny cool days beginning in August and continuing on into September without much rainfall, the color forecast is hopeful (watch the video here). That’s good news, in spite of the rainy season behind us.

According to The Weather Corner Asheville has experienced not only the wettest season on record, but also the coolest.  So, it looks like Dr. Neufeld has called it as long as mother nature continues tracking on this path!  The Farmer’s Almanac has WNC peaking between October 12-28, and more specifically Dr. Neufeld’s report has Asheville peaking October 14, 2013.

Be sure to take some time in the next few weeks to live in the now moments that fall has to offer.  And come see us at Take A Hike for the latest in trekking equipment and advice on local hiking trails!