Somehow, this time of year always creeps up on me. I see hints of the leaves about to turn, but dismiss them thinking that there are many weeks between now and raking the foliage from those red and gold tipped branches off of our lawn. Every year, those weeks pass all too quickly, and it’s suddenly too late to experience their full glory. Not this year! I swear. This year, I’m making a plan.
Seattle is nestled between two sets of mountain ranges. We only have to drive an hour east or west to really witness the sea change in action. This year, my plan is to hit the Mount Baker Highway. Originally built as a logging road stretching east from Bellingham into the North Cascades, this alpine highway is lined with towering evergreens and…big leaf maples. So, it’s not your typical East Coast deciduous dream, but the views promise to be incredible nonetheless.
The only catch is perfectly timing the shift. Head up too early, and the leaves won’t be peaking. Wait too long, and the road will be closed because of snow. The first flakes often fall in late-September/early October. Time things right, and you can drive all the way up to Artist Point, where you are rewarded with stunning views of Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker, and Picture Lake.
Wait too long, and, well…
Pretty. But, not the experience I’m looking for. So yes, this year I’m planning. Watching the fall foliage prediction maps. Keeping my eye on the weather forecast. Getting excited. I’ll let you know how it all works out.