This morning Kristen, Katherine and I piled into Kristen's car and set off to experience our Fall Foliage Driving Tour. Being from rural areas, none of us really appreciated why someone would go out of their way to see leaves. We strapped in and set off on our journey to discover what the allure was.
We started by hopping on Route 81 and getting off the Wertzville Road exit. This is a road I have driven many times, but I had never actually taken the time to look at all of the scenery. It's a gently winding, hilly road surrounded by rolling mountains. Many of the leaves have already fallen, but there were still beautiful splotches of color dotting the mountain. A few turns and a trip up the mountain later, we were at the Audubon Hawk Watch.
At the beginning of the trip we weren't really planning to hike the Hawk Watch. However, after looking at the trail, we decided to give it a try. From the parking lot there is a .18 mile hike to the Hawk Watch. It is uphill and very rocky, but the rocks form almost like steps, making it fairly easy to navigate (even in our dress clothes!). I was impressed with the amount of interesting and informative signage placed on the trail - all of our questions were addressed at some point of our journey.
The best part of the Hawk Watch was the rock outcropping. I had seen many pictures before, but none compared to the actual beauty of standing on top of a mountain looking at valleys on either side of you. We didn't see any hawks, but we met some friendly bird watchers who kindly snapped a photo for us. (They were impressed with our footwear.)
After the Hawk Watch we traveled back down the mountain, then back over the mountain to Colonel Denning State Park. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the leaves on this side of the county were mostly still on the trees, and much brighter than those we had seen in Carlisle. We saw blazing orange, dark crimson and lots of granny apple yellow leaves. In addition to the traditional fall colors were some bright green pine trees that really made for a stunning color palette. We were starting to get it.
The last leg of the journey took us through scenic farmland all the way to Shippensburg. We were starving, so we stopped in at the Ship Wreck for lunch. Their cheesy crab dip appetizer was delicious!
Overall, we really enjoyed our driving tour. We were gone for about four hours, but we easily could have extended the trip by spending more time at Colonel Denning State Park or taking the scenic route back to Carlisle. I see picturesque views of the Valley on a daily basis, so taking a scenic driving tour isn't something I would do in my own time. However, I was so impressed with the Hawk Watch I can easily see myself going back (with sneakers).