National Weather Service observer Wayne Browning recently shot this image of a red maple on the University of Virginia’s College at Wise campus. Most of the color is on the side facing the sun, demonstrating that the red comes from substances produced under bright light as the growing season ends, he notes.
Far Southwest Virginia is beginning to see rich colors of autumn, but we have a little more time before the peak of splendor arrives.
The state Department of Forestry reports this week that at high elevations in our region and along the Blue Ridge Parkway, yellow patches are coming in, while shades of red are showing all over the mountains in “early changers” such as Virginia creeper, dogwood and black gum.
The department notes that typically, Southwest Virginia’s peak color period is Oct. 10-20. Many popular local viewing sites such as Flag Rock Recreation Area, High Knob Recreation Area and the Guest River Gorge trail will be open for color chasers.