Canaan Valley - Leaf Peep Report
I took the family up to Canaan this weekend for the Leaf Peepers festival. Leaves have not quite peaked in the valley. My best guess is that they will peak sometime this week - probably before the weekend (10/2-3). I suspect they have already peaked in the Sods. The colors were a lot more intense than I remember last year, a great mixture of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens. I'm not a tree expert, so I can't tell much about the species other than the maples are the furthest along and are very red. The Beech Trees (I think that's what they are) seem to be lagging and are mostly still green.
Temps were really mild there this weekend - lows in the upper fifties, highs near 70. I was surprised it wasn't colder, but it made for good hiking, biking, and canoeing - we managed to get a little of all 3 actvities in. Conditions were very dry - despite almost 6 inches of rain since we were last there in mid-August.
I took a long mountain bike ride into the wildlife refuge on Monday. Man, that is beautiful country. Lots of great views of the valley and the Fall colors with not a house, structure, or road in sight. I had never explored it before - definately need to go back (after hunting season). I know the Refuge is pretty controversial in some circles, but I could not help but feel grateful that the land is now protected versus developed. The refuge land is a mix of rolling woods and meadows - easily enough build-able sites to construct a development twice the size of Old Timberline. They have restricted bike access somewhat; however, I rode an out-and-back route that was over 15 miles - right at my limit on a mountain bike - and still didn't hit half the legal biking trails there.
I went on one of the Park Service walks offered this weekend at Blackwater Falls. The maples are very red, beautiful and either at, or just past, peak. The beech, birch and aspen which make up the yellows in the area will probably peak in a week or two. The colors are much more fantastic this year, it would have been amazing to see the reds and yellows peak at the same time.
I was surprised to hear of aspen up there.You mentioned birch..are they white birch? I am interested in planting both species on my place up there.
My wife just corrected me -- it apparently was ashe not aspen. She further tells me that the birch were yellow birch. The trees are great, just make sure they don't block your view!!