Oh Deer – Have We Taken Leaf Of Our Senses?

October 20, 2009

P1190229P1190217We’re currently staying with friends Peter and Barbara in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville is a beautiful city, situated about 50 miles east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Yesterday, the bright, beautiful day that it was, found us on the Skyline Trail, Virginia’s northern extension of the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. High up on the Skyline Trail, we encountered that deer (habituated enough to humans that he seemed unconcerned to have his picture taken at fairly close range!). And of course, we fell in love with every red tree in sight, comprised of leaves much like the ones shown. But we’re getting a little ahead of the story, I guess…

For scenery, our trip from Philadelphia down to Charlottesville was less than exemplary, as you’ll see in our gallery of the day, we drove south in a driving rainstorm (Hmmm… If we’d flown south, would it be a flying rainstorm? Hmmm…) The rain let up quite a bit about 50 miles north of Charlottesville, but as we arrived in town, it had resumed, and: TRAFFIC cropped up!

Entering Charlottesville on a Saturday Night

Entering Charlottesville on a Saturday Night

I don’t wanna say it was slow, but the last 2 miles took us 45 minutes to cover. Whew! But hey, we’ve lucked out so far with excellent weather almost everywhere else, so into every life, a little rain must fall? 😉 Our hosts Peter and Barbara were at first mystified by how much traffic we encountered, but the whole problem boiled down to one word: Metallica!

We sort of goofed off for a day of rest on Sunday, but Monday dawned bright and clear, so we headed for the Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were hoping to see vibrant fall colors, and it really was beautiful up there:

Fall Colors Along Skyline Drive, Virginia

Fall Colors Along Skyline Drive, Virginia

We met a couple who’d very recently come down to Virginia from Vermont. They said Vermont’s fall colors were much more vibrant and colorful than Virginia’s. Trying to analyze the difference, we decided that Virginia has far fewer Sugar Maples, which are very plentiful in Vermont, and which most likely account for the fiery red colors of the autumn leaves there by the forestful. Virginia’s forests tend to be composed of mixtures of maples, evergreens, oaks, to the point where huge patches of red don’t seem to appear. But from our point of view the colors we saw and the mountain landscapes made for a wonderful viewing experience. See more scenes in the gallery? Here are some leaves up close:

Autumn Leaves Closeup, Skyline Trail, Virginia

Autumn Leaves Closeup, Skyline Trail, Virginia

Skyline Snowman Braving the Sun

Skyline Snowman Braving the Sun

The Skyline Trail gets up in altitude to heights of around 4,000 feet or so; we saw many trees that had already passed “peak,” and lost all their leaves, not to mention fresh snow staying on the ground in the 40 degree temperatures we encountered. Even the little snowman up there (a total of about 1 foot high!) seemed to be maintaining his features well in the weather.

Driving these “trails” like the Skyline or the Blue Ridge Parkway to the south take lots of time. For one thing, there are scenic turnouts about four to the mile, and for another thing, the speed limit is 35 mph. So, if you plan on visiting one of these byways, plan for a lot of time. Here’s one more scene from the Skyline:

Fall Color Along the Skyline Drive, Virginia

Fall Color Along the Skyline Drive, Virginia

We jumped off the Skyline at Rte 33, and headed west over into the Shenandoah Valley to make our way back home. Driving south along the Shenandoah River, we saw nice bucolic farm scenes like this one, with the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance:

Shenandoah Valley Farm, with Blue Ridge Mountains Behind

Shenandoah Valley Farm, with Blue Ridge Mountains Behind

Today we spent at Montpelier, James Madison’s home, a very interesting place still being developed, as a future blog may disclose? 😉 Tomorrow, we’ll take in some of the Blue Ridge Parkway, as we saunter down towards Asheville, North Carolina, about 8,000 miles into this little sojourn of ours. Thanks for looking!


4 Responses to “Oh Deer – Have We Taken Leaf Of Our Senses?”

  1. Gerry said

    Thank you so much for sharing these neat pictures. What tenacity you have, remembering to share. Beautiful country, and a lot of miles. How’s the Prius holding up? Any problems? God bless you both. Gerry

  2. Rhys said

    Some super photos there. Still using the Panasonic?

    • Thanks Rhys – Two Panasonics in play on our trip. My wife shoots the TZ-3 through the window shots and others, and I shoot the G1, much like a DSLR. Mostly all JPG shots; haven’t seen much benefit from RAW, except for a couple of shots.

  3. Rhys said

    Raw can be over-rated. I shoot exclusively in RAW because I find the quality better. Canon’s JPEG quality is not as good as raw processed into JPEGs. Also my Mac will treat RAW as JPEG anyway – I don’t even need to process it in order to view it. The big thing for me with RAW is it can offer more vibrant colours and better contrast when processed.

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