Fall Canyon Colors Report

 

By Jerry Boyer
author; Canyon Echoes

 

 

September 21st

 

Canyon colors have slowed to 70% primarily due to days of rain.

 

More and more yellows are slowly popping out of the lime green trees with gold, orange, red, and purple to follow next week.

 

According to the trend line on the color chart, peak may occur between September 29 and October 1.

 

The canyon’s rhapsody of foliage inspired Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 to call Spearfish Canyon“the most miraculous canyon in the West”“a South Dakota Treasure of noble inheritance”and conclude that“Had Spearfish Canyon been on the throughway to westward migration, the canyon would be as significant in public appreciation as the Grand Canyon is today.

 

Next report Tuesday.

 

Jerry Boyer, canyon author

 

September 18th

 

Yellows continue to emerge from the lime green forest now at 60%.  Becoming quite spectacular.

 

What makes the Autumn colors in Spearfish Canyon so unique?  It’s more than just the leaves. Unlike other canyons, the rhapsody of colors in Spearfish Canyon combine the unique convergence of 4 vegetation communities. In the lower elevation near the mouth of the Canyon near Spearfish, the Northern Great Plains Grasslands contrast the red limestone high walls with the rich gold and orange colors of the oak and cottonwoods, the yellows of the prairie grasses, and reds of the sumac.

 

A few more miles up the canyon near Bridal Veil Falls, the Rocky Mountain Coniferous Forest hosts the yellow sandstone high walls with the towering dark emerald-green of the ponderosa pine, purples of the dogwood, and reds of the nannyberry.  Further up near Victoria, the

Eastern Deciduous Forest displays the tan-gray limestone high walls with the vivid golden and orange aspen and birch, yellows of the ferns, and reds of the ivy.

 

Beyond Savoy to Cheyenne Crossing, the Northern Coniferous Forest highlights the green shale and tan limestone high walls with the vibrant dark-emerald white spruce, golden willows and oranges of the hawthorn.

 

Please drive carefully around the 86 canyon blind curves to protect the critters scurrying to fill their nests for the winter ahead, and the many bikers, and hikers walking the shoulders.

 

Next report Friday.

 

Jerry J. Boyer, canyon author

 

September 11th

 

WOW.  Canyon colors continue to soar to 40%.  Thursday’s rains may slow things down.

 

Leafy trees head Nature’s Call and set in motion complex biochemistry events. The chlorophyll in the leaves that once convert sunlight to food stops. The dark green leaves start to fade into a brilliant lime color, and eventually color pigments of yellow, red and gold appear. The word Deciduous comes from Latin words meaning “to fall.”

 

Along with cold air in the autumn comes dry air. Cold air cannot hold as many water molecules, so deciduous trees drop their leaves as a means to keep moisture inside to keep from freezing. Unlike leafy trees and plants, the leaves of evergreens trees are needles coated with wax. They do not shed their needles since they can keep enough moisture inside during the dry-air winter.

 

Please drive carefully around the 86 canyon blind curves to protect the critters scurrying to fill their nests for the winter ahead, and the many bikers, and hikers walking the shoulders.

 

 

Next report Tuesday.

 

 

Jerry J. Boyer, canyon author

 

September 7th

 

WOW. Canyon colors have soared to 25% with the understory and low shrubs bursting in yellows and the tall deciduous trees nearing its 40% peak of lime green by next Tuesday…my favorite color palette of the canyon forest.

 

The many wind storms this summer have taken its toll in the canyon with many swaths of trees laying bear on the canyon floor.

 

Why are the leaves turning and the animals scurrying? Plants and animals detect nature’s signal of increasing darkness in early September. Animals scurry to fill their nests from the impending winter freeze, and trees and shrubs and begin to drop their leaves.  From the height of 15 hours of daylight in June to only 8 1/2 hours in December – the rapid descent of darkness reaches midpoint on September 22, the Autumn Equinox. From here on out, the temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere really begin to drop.

 

Please drive carefully around the 86 canyon curves (mostly blind curves) to protect the critters scurrying to fill their nests for the winter ahead, the many bikers, and hikers walking the shoulders.

 

Next report Tuesday.

 

Jerry J. Boyer, canyon author

 

September 5th

 

The days are getting darker with cool dry air, which signals the canyon forest to begin its autumn color rhapsody.

 

Colors are at 10% which is typical for this time of year leading to a peak at around September 29.

 

Next report Friday.

 

Jerry Boyer, canyon author

70% as of September 21st

Canyon Colors 9/6

60% as of September 18th

Canyon Colors 9/6

40% as of September 11th

Canyon Colors 9/6

25% as of September 7th

Canyon Colors 9/6
Canyon Colors 9/6

10% as of September 5th

Canyon Colors 9/6