Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Where Does Fall Begin?

┬ęBert Gildart: Excluding Alaska, where does fall begin in the United States? From extensive travels throughout the Lower 48, I believe it begins in the Rockies, and yesterday as Janie and I drove from St. Mary in Glacier National Park to the contiguous Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, it seemed as though fall was beginning to assert herself in earnest.

Where does fall begin

Where does fall begin

That was particularly true along the eastern slopes of the Rockies where the leaves of quaking aspen and cottonwood have already taken on a golden hue. The color, of course, is the result of cold nights causing a deterioration of the green-colored chlorophyll, which had been masking the xanthophylls and the carotenes, pigments producing the yellows, oranges and reds.


These pigments are always present in the leaf, just not able to express themselves as chlorophyll dominates. Its role is to absorb light energy from the sun which then combines to produce the sugars needed by the tree for food. But it requires warm days and much light to maintain its hold, and already days are much diminished from the time of the summer solstice. As well, each morning now we’ve awoken to see that a hard frost has covered the windows of our vehicle.

And, so, the role of chlorophyll is complete for the year and the tree assumes a new role, and that (at least from the egocentric perspective of human beings) is to provide us with great viewing pleasure. Certainly that’s what occurred yesterday as Janie and I crossed the border and drove into Canada, where the mountains were particularly gorgeous with their fresh dusting of snow and leaves now turned gold.

The snow was from two nights ago, and I maintain that fall begins in the Canadian Rockies and that Glacier National Park with its lofty mountains is the first place in America to express this change in personalities.


*Leaves Fall

*Fall Color Along The Natchez Trace

One Response to “Where Does Fall Begin?”

  1. Kimmy Says:

    I anxiously await mother’s natures return of Fall colors here in the south. I can only imagine how breathtaking the change must be up north.
    Many hugs to you & Janie my friend!