Imagine autumn as a color. Do you see red? Gold? Orange? Trees, pumpkins, the occasional cider apple? There’s a reason we see these colors, for they have been recurring themes in our lives for as long as we can remember. We tend to think of fall as the season of orange because the trees show it to us every single year in one form or another. They’re all around us, reminding us with their morphing hues that cooler weather is on the way. Helping us remember that the next “cold front” could be just that, instead of a slightly less desiccating breath of oven-air. This subtle reminder from Nature sets the mood for the entire season.
At this time of year many of us are tied up in school projects, extracurricular activities, and countless other schedule-fillers. We desperately seek an outlet. Something that gets us away from the everyday and may offer an experience we can reminisce upon with our children (once they are old enough to understand we weren’t actively torturing them). There are countless choices when it comes to this. I would suggest that going to look at trees.
“Leaf Chasing” is a term that describes the North American pastime of travelling to various areas to watch the foliage of trees turn from the vibrant, glowing, green of spring and summer to the smoldering reds, golds, and oranges of the fall. There are countless resources available online to chart your leaf needs. A simple Google search of “fall foliage map” should net you the results you need to find what you and your family need. One thing that I would highly advise is to plan your trip at least a week in advance so you can find accommodations in the area. The further out, the better, particularly for state or national parks. If day trips are more your speed, check local Twitter and Instagram feeds based on the park or locations key words. There will be an almost carnival feel to the competition to post the best foliage pics for an area. Use one of the many foliage maps available, along with social media to plan your best trip. Anyone can plan a trip using old information, planning a truly great trip takes a little Google-fu.
In a closing note, I would also encourage you to pack along at least one good pair of binoculars. Not only are the leaves changing, but so are the animals that live among them. This is the beginning of the fall bird migration, and it allows us chances to see and hear birds that are not usually in our neighborhoods. We can also see deer beginning their fall routine, with fawns starting to follow Mom around and learn what it takes to live in the woods. This time of year has held a special place in our collective hearts for a reason. It allows us to appreciate the bounty that we have enjoyed throughout the growing season, and it now gives us a time to examine what lies around us on a daily basis. Please take the time and effort to get yourself and those you care for outside to witness what is going on around us. It’s really kinda awesome.
Here are some ideas to get you started leaf chasing. Remember, if you decide to go further away, make your reservations now!
Lost Maples State Natural Area
Daingerfield State Park
Lake Bob Sandlin State Park
Cooper Lake State Park
Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailways
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Davis Mountains State Park
David Geurkink is a recent transplant to Fort Worth. A former zookeeper with Fossil Rim, he is enjoying learning about all that his new city has to offer.