Saturday, October 8, 2011

Central Wisconsin: Peak Fall Color

Hazelnut and a rusty chair in my potager.

Personally, I don't think the colors are quite so fabulous this year. We had a very dry August and September. The weather this October has been dry and the temperatures 20 degrees above normal. I think the moisture and heat are affecting color, although the when the leaves turn is primarily driven by day length, I personally think some of these other things can also affect it.

Having their bright blues of the October skies, though, doesn't hurt when thinking contrast, particularly with the yellow sugar maple and the clear yellows of the black walnuts this year. The oaks seem to be more brown than a burnished red. We lost a lot of pine and spruce in the storm that swept through here Labor Day weekend which reportedly did $3.3 million damage in Waushara county alone. I heard the National Guard just finished clearing the roadway right-of-ways in the Wisconsin peninsula this last Friday.

So, those of you looking for my favorite spots of color in central Wisconsin, here's my list:

Hwy. 39/51 (I think they consider this Interstate 39 now, but if you grew up here it will always be Hwy 51.), the stretch north of the Bancroft exit, but before you get to Plover. The area around the Hwy 10 interchange on I-39/51 is nice, too.

Hwy. 22 from the Waupaca county line north to the unincorporated village of Rural and through the village of Rural.

Cty Hwy. K from Crystal Lake Corners through Little Hope and north through to the Waupaca High School.

State Hwy. 10 north of Waupaca and south of Amherst.

There is one more short stretch of road where the color peaks just a few days later and is at its peak when about 25% of the leaves have fallen there. This is the stretch of Aniwa Drive between Cty Hwy K and State Hwy 22 curves through a stand of sugar maples whose top limbs arch over the road, giving it a sense of seclusion. The best time of day to drive it is about sunset traveling west so the trees are back lit by the setting sun.

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