Orange and Red and Yellow, Oh My!
One of my most favorite times of the year is the third week and weekend in October. In past years it has been the time of peak color in the forests, and even with climate change it signals a splendid time to be out walking here in the Ozark Mountains. I had been chatting with a friend of mine on the IRC channel #Ozarks and he invited me out for a walk in the forest. I have been sidelined for some time and quickly accepted.
I left about 9am and headed south and west. I stopped in a few spots to grab pictures of some awesome trees, then moved on. Several paved roads and a few dirt ones later I found myself in Newton county, near Swain. I turned down my friends driveway.
It was a stunningly beautiful day. The temperature was pleasant and the sun was shining. The sky was a deep blue, with a wispy, white cloud occasionally wafting by. As I pulled in my friend was waiting to greet me. His home has solar windows and thermal curtains to take advantage of his location, Wood and an efficient heat pump make for a cozy place. The recent addition of solar panels and a large outbuilding for storage, the control units for the panels and batteries make the homestead fairly self contained. After enjoying a few cups of coffee and catching up on the news we decided to take a walk through his place and down to the forest, and back. I made sure to grab my camera.
We strolled down a path, past the storage building and his garden area. Then we walked up past his panels and building and along the utility line until we came to a narrow road. On the way we passed the field where he has his hammock stand for watching meteor showers and the stars. Pretty darn cool! It also doubles as a wonderful spot for a cuddle. We first came upon his spring fed pond, but with the drought this year it was on the low side. He said he supplemented his water with spring water he hauls from Whitley Spring. We turned down the road, more like a wide path, and meandered into the national forest. He wanted to show me a stand of maples that he said was one of the best in the county. And right next door too! We basically wandered around the forest, enjoying the sun and the most beautiful day. We eventually connected up with his driveway and walked back to his house.
After our walk we had some coffee and a long visit. The sun was in the west when I finally headed home. Folks, The Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas has some of the most spectacular hard wood forests left in our country. One thing I can promise is that if you visit our area in the third to fourth week of October you will see some awesome colors.