Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peak color now radiates from central Michigan to the south!

Northern Lower Peninsula: The colors have nearly peaked in the "greater Gaylord" area--this will be "the" weekend for a tour. The recent high winds have served to blanket the ground with a wonderful carpet of gold, orange and red--but the trees still have plenty of leaves. A few of the more notable drives we've taken have been on the Wolverine to Petoskey road (Four Stars!), Thumb Lake Road from Vanderbilt to Boyne (Three-and-a-half Stars), Sturgeon Valley Road (Three Stars), and of course M-119 from Harbor Springs to Cross Village (Three Stars). These are all "pavement trips"--those who don't mind getting dirty can find dozens of back-roads of beauty in this neck of the woods. The deer seem to be everywhere. They are "plumped out" and generally sporting their darker winter coats. The bucks are growing randy and rambunctious and sometimes careless. Be aware at dusk. (Don't veer for deer!) The black squirrels are putting in overtime working on their winter stashes.

Petoskey: Is almost at 100%! The leaves are having a little trouble changing this year. The hill's surrounding Petoskey and Harbor Springs seem to be at 80%, and should be at their full peak this coming weekend! The softer yellow trees are beginning to loose their leaves, whereas the harder maples and oaks are picking up speed and filling in their vibrant red tones. Come on up and visit us to enjoy the last beautiful color weekend for the 2009 season.

Leelanau, Grand Traverse area: Fully half the trees are still green and the other half have taken on a faded color. There is almost no red now up here, along with some yellow, but mostly there is brown. Colors are muted and not the typical fall colors we usually see here. One of our staff went leaf peeping through Benzie and Leelanau counties this weekend and said that they agreed, there was very little color to see, most was drab with yellows and gold, very little red and oranges were seen.

Ludington: Inland, 70-90% of the trees are showing color. Lakeside, 35%

Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon Counties: Kent County is near or at peak, with about 75% of the trees showing color. The dominant colors in this area are pale yellows and light greens, with a few smatterings of oranges and reds.

Kalamazoo County: In my little neck of the woods (the western part of Kalamazoo) the trees that had faded to green-yellow are really starting to turn out over the past couple days. Some spots of spectacular reds dot the area. 85% of the trees are in color.

Barry, Eaton, and Ingham Counties: Fall color in and around these areas are nearing peak, although the color spectrum continues to be on the light green and yellow side. Cottonwoods are losing their brownish-green leaves and all the walnuts have shed their leaves. Tamaracks are peaking, with golden yellows. Oaks in the area still struggle to hold onto their green allure, although we are seeing more brown. Overall, 35-75% of the trees are showing color.

St. Joseph County: The area is mostly at peak, with many oranges, reds, and yellows. The area hasn't had such a nice splash of colors during fall in several years, so get out and enjoy it!

WMTA's online fall color reports are provided by the Michigan Audubon Society and the Apple Tree Inn in Petoskey.

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