It’s October–my favorite month. I realize the first day of fall was back in September, but October is when I KNOW the seasons are changing in these Appalachian mountains. Leaves are just starting to color, the mornings require a jacket, and the sky is getting ever bluer. It’s the bittersweet time of year when the weather is wonderful (barring hurricanes), nature is at her loveliest, and I know it will all soon turn to bare branches and ice. But before we have the glory of the foliage, there are the last of the flowers to savor. Goldenrod, asters in blue and white, thistles, jewel weed, and all the lovely ditch flowers whose names I don’t know. Here’s a sampling from my hikes. You’ll find thistles of the flora and fauna variety mixed in there. Enjoy!