Lens-Artists #106: Autumn

This July “Seasons” will be the theme for the entire month with a different season featured each week. This week the challenge is “Autumn”.

In coastal Georgia, cool fall weather is always a treat after the sweltering heat of summer. The sweetgrass (muhly grass) that grows here announces autumn with it’s brilliant pink colors.

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In coastal Georgia, Muhly grass (sweetgrass) turns a pink in autumn

When we want to see red, orange, and yellow autumn leaves we travel away from the coast.

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Fall Colors in Georgia
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Vibrant autumn colors on the UGA campus
Fall Colors at Lake of the Ozarks
Fall colors at Lake of the Ozarks
Fall Colors on Blue Ridge Parkway in NC
Fall Colors on Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

In our house, autumn means it’s college football season. We have spent many fall Saturday afternoons at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia cheering on the Dawgs.

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Sanford Stadium, home of the Georgia Bulldogs

Patti, thank you for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Autumn

Blue Ridge Parkway, Creek Side Camping and Barbeque in North Carolina

After two days of elk watching in Cataloochee Valley we packed a lunch and set out from our campground in Waynesville for a 40 mile drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway in search of fall colors.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469 mile scenic parkway through the southern Appalachian Mountains in Virginia and North Carolina. The northernmost point of the parkway is Mile 0 in Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro, Virginia. The southernmost point is Mile 469 near Cherokee, North Carolina. There are scenic overlooks, picnic areas, hiking trails, and campgrounds all along the way.

Although we have traversed several sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the past we had never been on the area in North Carolina north of the Highest Point at Mile 431. On our journey this time we traveled south from  Mile 408 at Mount Pisgah to Maggie Valley at about Mile 455.

The first order of business was a picnic at the Mount Pisgah picnic area at the top of a short paved trail. After lunch under the trees we started our journey south, stopping at several of the scenic overlooks. It was too early in the year for the peak autumn colors but a few of the leaves were beginning to change.

Fall Colors on Blue Ridge Parkway in NC
Fall Colors on Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

Looking Glass Rock got it’s name because sunlight will reflect off the granite when there is water collected on it.

Looking Glass Rock Blue Ridge Parkway in NC
Looking Glass Rock Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

There was beautiful scenery every where we looked.

Beautiful day for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC
Beautiful day for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

We found a few more fall colors.

A few fall colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC
A few fall colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

There are many folktales surrounding the Devil’s Courthouse. It was getting late and we decided to skip the trail to the top.

Devil's Courthouse Blue Ridge Parkway in NC
Devil’s Courthouse Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

The picture on the left was taken 8 years ago when we first stopped at the Highest Point of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile 431. The one on the right from this visit.

The photo below is the view from the Highest Point.

Highest Point Blue Ridge Parkway in NC
Highest Point Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

A few clouds rolled in as we continued south,

Blue Ridge Parkway in NC
Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

Our home base for exploring Cataloochee Valley and the Blue Ridge Parkway was Creekwood RV Park a few miles north of Waynesville and Maggie Valley. Our site backed up to a beautiful creek. It was a perfect place to relax after a day of wandering.

Of course we had to try some North Carolina barbeque while were were there. The Heywood Smokehouse in Waynesville was recommended and the spareribs, chicken, and brisket were done to perfection. And it turns out the owners are originally from Georgia!

Heywood Smokehouse in Waynesville, NC
Heywood Smokehouse in Waynesville, NC

Beautiful fall weather, bugling elk, scenic drives, camping beside a creek, and delicious barbeque. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Fall Colors at Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the largest state park in Missouri. The park has many miles of shoreline as well as many trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding. The rain followed us from Columbia and our hopes of hiking were rained out.

We chose not to pull our fifth wheel on the narrow, winding roads  to  one of the beautiful waterfront sites in the campground. Instead, we stayed in a big site with a view of the woods. We enjoyed watching four deer come out at dusk.

Rock cliffs line the shoreline at Lake of the Ozarks and although we were too early for the fall colors to be at their peak the trees were starting to display the beautiful orange and yellow of autumn.

 

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Wandering Dawgs Wander Again

Not all of our wandering is to far away places like Alaska or the Yukon. Sometimes we wander close to home. On Monday, we hitched up the Titanium for a road trip to Auburn, Alabama to watch the south’s oldest football rivalry between Georgia and Auburn this coming Saturday. We decided to take a few extra days and explore a new to us Corps of Engineers park on West Point Lake in West Point, Georgia just off of I-85 near the Georgia/Alabama line. It’s great traveling during the week during the off season. We are almost the only ones here.

We spent three relaxing nights in site 113 in the campground with no other campers in our loop. The trees were wearing their fall colors and the sunsets were spectacular.

Our only neighbors were the geese.

R Schaefer Heard Campground on West Point Lake is one of three Corps of Engineers campgrounds on the lake. Our site is about 40 feet from the lake and like most COE parks we have a large site with plenty of room between our site and the ones on either side.  Our site is a paved, back in site with water and electric hookups, a tent pad, fire ring, picnic table and a beautiful lake view. For more information about the park or to make reservations you can go the Recreation.gov site for R Schaefer Heard