This story was initially printed in September 2020.
A stunning time of yr, fall foliage season marks the top of summer season with a fiery show that transforms the Maine panorama. The spectacular present lasts just some weeks. If you happen to drag your ft, you simply may miss it.
To really embrace the season, many individuals plan particular outings to seek out probably the most vibrant colours. Whether or not you’re visiting Maine for the primary time otherwise you’ve lived right here for a few years, leaf peeping is a enjoyable exercise that brings pleasure to all ages. That can assist you get probably the most out of the expertise, listed here are a couple of suggestions.
Time it proper
To be taught when leaves are altering shade in numerous elements of the state, try the Maine Fall Foliage Report, which is issued weekly by the Maine Division of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The report tracks the colour progress throughout the state utilizing a community of observers, together with Maine forest rangers and forest pathologists.
The report is up to date on Wednesday afternoons, sometimes beginning mid-September and operating by way of October, till many of the leaves have fallen from the bushes or pale to brown. To view the complete reviews, together with color-coded maps that divide the state up into totally different zones, go to mainefoliage.com. It’s also possible to join the weekly report back to be despatched to you by way of electronic mail on the web site.
Lengthen the season
Maine is a giant state that varies in temperature from south to north, and from the coast to inland areas. This issues in the case of fall foliage as a result of temperature is without doubt one of the important elements for when leaves change shade. Usually, leaves change shade in colder areas first. Subsequently, in Maine, fall foliage progresses from north to south. Leaves additionally have a tendency to vary shade in inland mountainous areas earlier than they do alongside the coast.
With this in thoughts, you’ll be able to generally get pleasure from peak fall foliage for a couple of weeks by planning journeys to totally different areas of Maine. For instance, in mid-September, the leaves is likely to be principally inexperienced in southern Maine, however in Aroostook County, shade may very well be popping up everywhere in the panorama.
Spot shade early
Views of fall foliage in Maine. Credit score: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN
One trick for recognizing colourful bushes early within the season is visiting areas the place bushes are dealing with lower than supreme rising situations. When harassed, bushes generally faucet out early within the season and cease producing inexperienced chlorophyll. As this pure pigment breaks down, the leaves’ fall colours are revealed.
A main instance of that is when bushes alongside roadways flip shade earlier than bushes which are deeper within the forest. Roadside bushes are generally harassed by highway salt, mud and lack of water. One other instance is when bushes change shade early in areas experiencing drought.
As well as, among the bushes that develop round wetlands, reminiscent of silver and pink maple, have a tendency to vary shade earlier. So in case you’re in an space that’s nonetheless largely inexperienced, search out a highway or path that travels by a lavatory.
Hunt down sure bushes
In relation to fall shade, sure tree species outshine the remaining. In Maine, a few of our most colourful bushes are sugar maples and pink maples. Their leaves typically bleed into vibrant orange, blood pink and even peach and purple. Much less widespread black gum bushes are additionally identified to be among the many showiest fall bushes, with their leaves turning vibrant pink and generally orange.
Oak bushes additionally placed on a present, with leaves transitioning to orange and gold late within the season. Birch bushes typically show yellows, as do aspen bushes. And beech leaves have a tendency to show a rusty orange and cling to branches effectively into the winter.
Some understory vegetation may also flip vibrant colours. Hobblebush, for instance, is a broad-leafed shrub present in shady, moist woods all through Maine, and its leaves typically flip vibrant reddish purple. And blueberry vegetation are identified for turning vibrant pink. Go to one in every of Maine’s many blueberry fields and see for your self. Blueberries additionally develop atop lots of the state’s mountains, together with mountains in Acadia Nationwide Park.
Generally, search out areas with loads of deciduous bushes fairly than conifer forests. The one Maine conifer that adjustments shade within the fall is the tamarack, which has comfortable needles that flip golden and fall off, similar to leaves, to develop again once more the next spring.
Plan for cold climate
Fall in Maine is a time for flannels, fleece and at occasions, wool hats. Although summer season was solely yesterday, the temperature drops rapidly throughout this time of yr, particularly within the night. Whereas having fun with the gorgeous fall foliage, keep cozy by packing loads of heat clothes layers. A thermos of sizzling cider may also considerably enhance your leaf peeping expertise.
Depart the highway behind
Viewing the autumn colours from the consolation of a automobile may be lots of enjoyable, however stepping out into the cool autumn air can actually add to the expertise. The wealthy scent of decaying leaves, whereas it doesn’t sound significantly interesting, is definitely fairly good.
One method to spend time outdoors whereas leaf peeping is to pick a well-marked and maintained path. Perform a little analysis forward of time to pick a path that matches your wants, whether or not that’s a wheelchair-accessible path or a rugged mountaineering path that results in the highest of a mountain. Some trails are identified for being significantly good for viewing fall foliage. However no matter path you select in Maine, so long as it’s not within the thick of an evergreen forest, ought to lead you to loads of colourful bushes.
One other method to view fall foliage is by practice. Maine is dwelling to the Downeast Scenic Railroad and the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad, each of which supply scenic day journeys in open air coaches and have made adjustments to observe state and Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention pointers for security through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Touring by boat is one other wonderful method to view fall colours. There’s one thing particularly lovely about colourful bushes reflecting within the water. Fall paddling may be extra harmful than summer season paddling as a result of the water is rapidly changing into colder (which may trigger paddlers to develop hypothermia sooner in the event that they fall in). It’s particularly vital to put on a life jacket and keep on with paddling journeys inside your talent stage. Or you might search out a guided tour or boat cruise.
Look out for storms
Keep watch over the climate forecast. If you happen to see predictions for heavy rain or wind, you’ll need to get on the market and benefit from the fall foliage beforehand. Wind and rain can deliver a swift finish to fall foliage season in Maine by knocking the already fragile leaves to the bottom.