White Rock
October 29, 2005

I was determined to not miss out on the fall colors this year, so I squeezed in an afternoon hike at White Rock Mountain into my full schedule. I worked that day, had a Halloween party to go to that night, and still had to pack for a week-long trip to Rochester that began the next morning.
I embarked where the hiking trail, which circles the top of the mountain, crosses the road on the north side, and hiked clockwise. At the first scenic overlook it was obvious fall was running much later than I expected. The view was almost entirely green, with little color to be seen. There were isolated splashes of color along the trail, like Red Maple saplings turning from green to red. I hiked near the top of many tall, solid rock cliffs.. taller than the mature trees surrounding them. Walking in the shadow of the mountain and underneath the trees, it felt like it would be getting dark soon, but then the trail made a series of turns to the west and I had the sun in my face and I realized sunset was still an hour away.
The scenery turned much more photogenic after the trail made another swing to the right and I was on the western face of the mountain, hiking north. I passed a boulder that reminded me of a giant frog, poised to leap off the edge of the bluff.  Crimson leaves of Sumac and Huckleberry glowed in the sunlight, and the Serviceberry leaves with their strange mixture of greens, yellows and pinks really stood out when struck by the orange light of  the evening sun.
My favorite scene of the hike was of lichen-covered boulders at the edge of a bluff, surrounded by backlit Huckleberry leaves. The sunset died out because of some thick, hazy clouds near the horizon. As it began to get dark, I passed some brilliant Red Maple trees that had found a home on the side of a bluff. By the time I had completed my loop, there was barely enough light to see the trail. This hike wasn’t the fall color experience I had hoped for, but it was still a wonderful afternoon full of breathtaking vistas that left my spirits soaring.