We have a tradition of spending a fall mountain weekend with my sister and her family in Asheville, which involves activities like apple picking, hiking and baking. Each year we set the date in hopes that our trip will coincide with peaking foliage. Some years we've hit it on the nose; other years we're off by a week or two. This year we could smell success as we drove west toward the mountains, color erupting around us.
What we didn't anticipate was a freak winter storm that blew in on Halloween night and dropped snow over the brilliant leaves. My sister and I, Minnesota natives, couldn't remember a single time in our lives we had seen snow accumulate over peaking leaves—and certainly not in the subtropical state of North Carolina.
But let's back up a moment. Here is what her backyard looked like on the afternoon of Halloween.
My sister and I took a walk that afternoon. She showed me a slave graveyard, tucked into these peaceful woods. In all the years I've visited her in Asheville, I never knew this graveyard was a stone's throw from her home.
The littles requested that instead of trick-or-treating, we hide the candy around the yard like the Easter egg hunt we did earlier this year. It was a smashing victory for all. Then we went to sleep and woke up to an inch of snow—just enough to cover the ground and add stunning contrast to the changing leaves.
The snow was perfectly sticky for snowballs. Poor Nora had forgotten what it felt like to be cold and started to cry in confusion over why her hands hurt.
We tried to drive the girls up to the Blue Ridge Parkway so we could take in the view while they napped, but we only made it a few hundred feet before finding it closed due to weather.
By midday the snow (and winter) had melted in the valley, and we were back to blustery fall day.
I'm Julia Soplop, writer and photographer. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.