The skies were clear with sunshine all day.
The color in many areas was still breath-taking.
This photograph was taken at an overlook on NC 181. The Brown Mountain ridge is in the distance. Mysterious lights shine at various intervals on this ridge. Not surprisingly, the lights are called The Brown Mountain Lights.
Cherokee lore suggests the Brown Mountain Lights have been seen since the 1200s. The first white man to explore this area wrote in his diary about "nitrous vapors" carried by the wind. A reporter for the Charlotte, NC newspaper documented the lights in 1913.
The lights appear as bright orbs, moving in varying directions along the ridge. No one has been able to explain the lights although they have been studied by the US Weather Service, The US Geological Survey, and the Smithsonian Institution among others. The unpredictable lights appear and disappear in no specific pattern but are more commonly seen in the late summer and fall.
The source of the lights remains unexplained. What is known is that the lights are definitely visible and they have been videotaped often. You can find more information about them here or here.
My aunt was delighted by the awesome color. Around each curve, with every mountain or gorge, we saw the splendor of the autumn color in the mountains.
I was thrilled to see my aunt take such joy in the outing. As I left her at her apartment, she said it was the best day she had had in such a long time. Both of us had a very nice day.
When I got home, my husband told me my neighbor wanted me to call her when it was convenient. He said he had told her I was visiting my aunt and she asked him, "Oh, is that her elderly aunt?" My very clever husband told her, "Charlotte, when you get to be our age any aunt you have is elderly."