Early mornings at Lake Junaluska
An occasional maple tree is beginning to show its red fall splendor, and a few poplar and hickory trees have a hints of yellow or gold around Lake Junaluska's walking trail.
Even though many popular trails in the park are closed, area residents and visitors can still experience the color season close to home by taking a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which remains open during the federal government's partial shutdown, or take a walk around the most popular lake in the county.
Don't expect to see vibrant colors just yet, though.
North Carolina’s hardwood trees are taking their time to change colors this fall because of a low-stress growing season that included plenty of moisture and mild temperatures, said Robert Bardon a North Carolina State University forestry and environmental resources professor.
“Growing conditions have been good, so trees have postponed shutting down the food factories in their leaves,” Bardon said. “I expect the fall colors will arrive a little bit later than usual.”
Lake Junaluska has long been a destination for those looking for a scenic stroll or a vigorous workout. With its peaceful surroundings on the Francis Asbury Trail, the colorful roses along the Rose Walk, there's a chance to just enjoy the moment. The 2.6-mile walking trail offers the chance to not only get a 360-degree view of the lake, but to get an aerobic workout, as well.
Lake Junaluska Assembly has started a "Friends of the Lake" group to help defray the $250,000 annual cost of maintaining the grounds and recreation facilities at the lake. Various events are held throughout the year to raise funds for this cause, or those who appreciate the opportunity to have the facilities readily available can send a donation at any time to Lake Junaluska Assembly, Inc., PO Box 67, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745.