Dramatic Color in South McDowell County
Located along the McDowell, Rutherford, county live is a rural area known mostly for raising prized Black Angus cattle, and high protein hay. The small communities of Montford Cove and Sugar Hill are sparsely populated, and possess no state or national land or parks. What they do have are large tracks of hardwood forests and dramatic mountains that surround 3,000 foot Hickory Nut Mountain and its smaller surrounding peaks. The second week of November seems to always be the best time for color, and even with a late fall this year along the Blue Ridge escarpment, the area remains true to form.
For five days now, steady light rain and a persistent fog have enshrouded these valleys and ridges with a welcome wetness that was missing last year, leading to numerous wildfires. Although the brightest hues come with sunlight and blue skies, saturated color is more intense when everything is wet, and personally, I think autumn is more dramatic when this occurs.
Along Sugar Hill-Old Fort Road, this effect couldn’t have been more intense than what I found yesterday.
The bright green of Carolina Bamboo really sets off the vibrant display heading west.
Midway between Sugar Hill and the town of Old Fort is a once popular trout pond known at Midway Lakes. The orange of the Bald Cypress contrasts beautifully with the Maples and Hickories along the pond’s banks.
Heading back to the east, you’ll find Mud Cut Road that connects Sugar Hill Road with U.S. Highway 221. It’s an old, winding road that passes churches and graveyards, and more Black Angus pastures. The Sugar Maples occupy one specific area, and always offer an eye popping display of reds, yellows, and oranges.
This lone Sumac was the brightest of all…
This Japanese Holly was ready for the holiday season…
Along Montford Cove Road on the way back into Rutherford County is a Carp fishing pond known as Woody’s Lakes. Surrounded by large Bradford Pears, these trees turn a series of yellow, orange, and red, as the cold weather of mid-November sets in.
Arriving back home with a steady drizzle still falling, I found this Poison Ivy vine growing under my window, and marveled at the variety of color coming from such a maligned plant.