Autumn is a favorite time of the year to capture the beauty of nature. Colorful leaves, bright blue skies, and the changing of the seasons create vivid, colorful scenes.
We get our best fall color when there is a decent amount of rain throughout the growing season and when autumn days are bright and sunny, while autumn nights are cold, but not freezing.
Some of the earliest displays of fall color are seen in both Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper. The leaves of both of these vines turn red in the fall. The Ohio Buckeye Tree is one of the earliest trees to change colors, becoming golden in the fall. We will soon start to see the colors of red, yellow, purple, orange, magenta, and brown. If you remember from science class Beta carotene, the same pigment that makes carrots orange, reflects the yellow and red light from the sun and gives leaves an orange hue.
The production of anthocyanin, which gives leaves their vivid red color, ramps up in the fall, protecting and prolonging the leaf’s life on a tree throughout autumn.
And the yellows that make you feel as if you’re walking in a ray of sunshine produce flavonol which is a part of the flavonoid protein family. It is always present in leave but doesn’t show itself until chlorophyll production begins to slow.
The changing of the leaves and cool air make fall one of the most exciting times of the year. If you haven’t stayed at an Ohio State Park, now is the perfect time to plan a camping experience or stay in a lodge where the whole family is sure to enjoy. Predicting the timing of changing leaves is not always easy, but beautiful fall color will surely be visible in Ohio this season. The fall colors are expected to run a little late this year. Forecasting peak color in northern Ohio to be seen in mid-October. Central Ohio leaf color should peak at the end of the third full week in October, and southern Ohio should peak in late October. People interested in finding eye-catching leaves during the upcoming fall color season should check out fallcolor.ohiodnr.gov – Ohio’s official guide to the changing colors.
Fall camping is one of the best ways to enjoy a little more time outdoors before winter begins to set in. While fall camping may not be ideal for swimming or some of your other favorite summer camping activities, it does have its advantages over the other seasons as well. The main advantage is obviously the beautiful fall foliage that adorns our nation’s forests every single year. A quiet overlook casting a view towards tree-covered slopes flashing the brilliant colors of autumn can offer a chance for reflection and solitude that is all too rare in our busy everyday lives.
Ohio’s 74 State Parks offer free, year-round entry and the best in outdoor recreation experiences: from camping and cottages, to horseback riding and hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, golfing… and the list goes on! There are thousands of acres of open-spaces just waiting for you to explore. So grab your down-filled sleeping bag and your warmest pajamas and plan a trip to one of these best fall camping locations. Get out and enjoy nature and the colors of autumn.
Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.