Stray leaves and reflected pinpoints of sunshine create a dazzling galaxy in a pool of water near the Blue Ridge Parkway/U.S. 221 intersection, leading toward Grandfather Mountain. This entry marks the last in Grandfather Mountain’s 2017 Fall Color Gallery.

Compared to previous years, 2017’s fall color progression was somewhat unusual, in that the change came on quickly, only to stall, start again, stall again and start again. Experts attribute this — and some resulting premature defoliation — to the erratic fluctuations in temperature that dominated October’s forecasts. However, autumn is always glorious in the North Carolina mountains, and this year, albeit less consistent, was no exception. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation