Appreciating the Flora of Fall

Even in the buff-colored, high desert of Nevada, neighborhood trees and shrubs are sporting their autumn finery.

pampas grass and yellow leaves in high desert

During most mornings these past weeks, Shawn and I have pounded the pavement for three-mile walks up into the surrounding hills. Aiming to achieve a cardio workout, I’ve typically refrained from bringing my trusty camera along (an accessory for which I’m often teased; some joke that it’s an extension of my body). With the oak and maple leaves, trailing ivy and rabbitbrush reaching their peak fall hues in the past days, however, I could not resist the temptation to indulge my shutterbug passion any longer.

Enter what my husband playfully calls ‘irregular walking,’ (walk, stop, snap, repeat) and these images that celebrate this glorious autumn.

autumn leaves collage reno nevada
red and yellow fall leaves high desert reno nevada
pampas grass, desert rose in high desert
rabbit brush in reno nevada hills
leaves autumn reno blue sky nevada
yellow leaves reno nevada high desert
red leaves in reno nevada autumn
autumn colors in reno nevada
autumn leaves in the high desert
yellow leaves and rabbit brush in high desert

Some of my favorite ways to usher in autumn’s arrival are home-cooked pumpkin soup, warm woolen scarves I’ve picked up on my travels, and picking out the perfect pumpkin to carve and enjoy. What are yours?

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

51 thoughts on “Appreciating the Flora of Fall

  1. It can be challenging to get a descent cardio workout with a camera – but your photos are well worth the stop, shoot and continue approach. Love your work.

    1. Thanks, Anita. I’ll have to let my husband know I have dear readers who appreciate the photos too, making the irregular walking worthwhile. :) Just kidding – he has great patience indulging my shutterbug ways and loves that the photos act as a journal of sorts from our travels.

      Have you returned home from the Camino yet? How many miles/km did you walk in all?

      1. Gunta, I’m catching your message a bit late, but I’m happy that the East Coast is recovering and that the storm is not as bad as it could have been. Growing up in the Midwest, it’s easy to underestimate Mother Nature’s power – particularly in the coastal areas!

    1. Very true, Jo! I grew up in the Midwestern US, where autumns are often short. That’s why it’s been such a joy experiencing more of an ‘Indian Summer’ this year, in the high desert of Nevada. In what part of the world are you now?

      1. At home in the UK, where I am for most of the year, Tricia. Wet outside tonight so I’m left with a bowl full of sweets for the trick or treaters who didn’t show.

      2. I’m sorry to hear it was a gloomy Halloween on your side of the Atlantic, Jo. Here it’s a bit grey, chilly and windy too. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to seeing the Halloween festivities in the US tonight – my first time in 11 years. :)

        I’m not sure why I thought you lived in Portugal or Spain part of the year?

      3. Sorry, I went offline earlyish last night. I’m on the north-east coast in Hartlepool. It’s just north of the Yorkshire border and much of my walking,etc is done there. If you have time to look in my Home page there are some Yorkshire related posts. Small world, isn’t it?

  2. Okay, so it’s not much for exercise, but I sure appreciate you hauling the camera around. The photo of the pampas grass (I’m taking your word for it) is stunning, Tricia, even among so many beautiful images.

    1. Sid, I was pleased that my in-laws know so many of the names of the unique flora here in the high desert. I was taking their word for it as well with that name, but it seemed to match my internet research. :)

      Thanks as always, Sid, for your kind comments and support!

  3. I love the fall colors, but it is a signal for what is to come…winter…not my favorite time of the year.I don’t blame you for taking the camera. You can say you exercised your arms.

    1. I like that, Lynne. :)

      Ah, I know what you mean about fall’s return. A year ago, we were preparing for our Southeast Asian trip which allowed us to escape winter. Even though we’re going to a beautiful place (Germany) next week, I am not looking forward to the chilly temps and grey skies. I forgot in which state you and Ron call home?

    1. Marina, I was just joking to Rachael on this same post that all parties involved should unite and form some support groups. :)

      How fun for you that you get to enjoy the changing colors during your cross-country adventure!

  4. Trish, the vivid fall colors and your photos are amazing! In the northeast, the colors were just beginning to change right when I left for South America. At one point I used to be teased by my friends as well about the camera and those “irregular” walkings or jogs that I tend to do at times. It’s more fun that way, I must say :) I just got the iPhone5 and its high-quality camera is my new obsession!

    1. Antoinette, I’m probably the only American without an iPhone, but I have heard that it takes quite wonderful images. My mother-in-law just got one, and I’ve been impressed what she and my father-in-law have snapped. Perhaps at some point, I’ll have to trade in my bulky camera for something a bit more lightweight. :)

      Thanks for your kind comment… and, for how long will be in South America?

  5. You know, I had lost track of your whereabouts and assumed you were back from the USA but I gather you’re in Nevada? I am very glad you took your camera along for these spectacular shots. I like the term “irregular walking” and may introduce it here as it is rather nicer than some of the epithets applied by my walking companions! ;)

    1. Rachael, Nevada has been our home-base this summer, though we did take a ‘business’ trip to San Francisco, and recreational ones to the Pacific Northwest and Napa. Those trips, in addition to our cross-continent drive to move my former car from coast-to-coast earlier this summer. I’m dreadfully behind in sharing our travel tales. :) We fly back to Europe next week.

      It seems that the term, ‘irregular walking’ is resonating with a great number of the female readers. Perhaps we – and our significant others – could form support groups? :)

      1. I grew up and previously lived near the Adirondacks and Letchworth State Park in New York State. I live and work in Clearwater, Florida now. Miss the northeast!

    1. Anyes, I suppose “l’herbe est toujours plus verte…” :) but I have heard Vancouver is so beautiful! We had hoped to explore your neck of the woods during our recent Pacific Northwest adventures, alas, we ran out of time.

      You’re right, though – the high desert’s sunshine makes for beautiful lighting for photography. Soon, we’re headed for Germany, which is of course quite grey this time of year. So, I’m trying to soak up as much sunshine as I can now. :)

  6. I know everyone goes on about Summer being the best season for obvious reasons but Autumn is my favourite by far. I love the colours on the trees and the smell in the air as things start to get colder and the crisp blue skies. Beautiful chance for photos as you have proved with yours.

  7. What a deliciously colourful celebration of this most photogenic of seasons. I am sorry I lost touch for a while. For some reason I stopped getting emails for your blog. I have changed my settings now.

    1. Greetings Rachael, so glad to hear you’re back on board! I must confess that we’ve been tied up unpacking boxes these past weeks. I’m looking forward to catching up on your lovely photographs shortly. Is the UK being inundated with snow too? It’s quite the winter wonderland here in the Alps!

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