For the past two weeks or so, a friend and I have been taking short scenic drives for leaf peeping as the colors finally had begun to reach their peak stage of brilliance. One morning, we drove to a state park in the region with a scenic overlook near the area's highest elevation toward the northernmost tip of the Catskill mountain range. Not as dramatic as the high peaks of the Adirondacks, across the Mohawk River valley below and to the north.
View north to the Adirondack Mountains on the horizon, far in the distance, across the Mohawk River basin.
There are lots of opportunities to see the array of colors that Mother Nature provides during October in my region of eastern upstate New York, but, after some study, it became apparent that not only were the colors this year particularly loaded with brilliance, the best times to see them at their most intense and striking were early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Those were the day parts when the sun's rays illuminated the leaves at a more acute angle than during the midday hours when the sun was at its highest in the sky. The leaves simply were far more dull in the middle of the day. So not all jaunts were as satisfying as others - time of day and the availability of sunshine were key factors for the most satisfying views of autumnal leaf splendor.
This is a fleeting time in autumn, when the leaves are changing so dramatically, before they fall to the ground and leave us with the stark landscape of winter for the next several months thereafter. If you're able, and you have access to such a stunning display where you are, go out, see the beauty that surrounds you before it's gone for another year. So few sights are so dramatic and so gratifying...and don't cost anything to enjoy.