Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quick hits: The best in fall foliage and football

Fall foliage season longer than you think
"... Autumn comes early in Alaska, brushing Denali National Park with purple and gold in late August. In warmer climates and near sea level, fall colors can last well into November. Last year, trees in New York City's Central Park were still putting on a show the week before Thanksgiving," says the Associated Press.

"And while New England is the undisputed queen of classic autumn scenery, other regions brag about foliage too, from Yosemite National Park in California to North Carolina's mountains to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The U.S. Forest Service links to fall color reports in all but a few states at ...

"In most regions, color appears first in northerly areas and higher elevations, then gradually spreads to valleys, coastal areas and southerly regions. But precisely when the leaves turn, and how brilliant the colors will be, can't be predicted too far in advance, because it depends on early fall weather.

" 'One of the things that is really critical is cool nights,' said Howard Neufeld, a professor of plant physiology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. 'Starting in September, if it starts to get cool but not below freezing, if you have clear cool days and cool nights, it stimulates fall color.' ..."

Speaking of Appalachian ...

"Three-time defending national champion Appalachian State has been ranked No. 1 in The Sports Network's preseason poll for the Football Championship Subdivision.

"Appalachian State received 97 of 101 first-place votes to easily outdistance No. 2 North Dakota State. Northern Iowa was third.

"Elon was ranked 15th," said news reports.

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