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Original Issue


When October's bright blue weather comes along, the woods of eastern North America stage a mass color display unequaled anywhere else in the world. Millions take to the highways for a necessarily fleeting glimpse of this phenomenon of nature. It is a thrilling sight when viewed as a panorama, but still greater rewards come to those who forsake their cars for a time and go for a walk in the woods. This old American pastime is best typified by Jo Davidson's statue of Walt Whitman near the Trailside Museum at Bear Mountain, N.Y. Hat in hand, the bronze figure of the poet strides along beneath the trees, his eyes on the path ahead. The path, incidentally, is the Appalachian Trail, which hikers can follow from Maine to Georgia. Those who have not forgotten how to use their feet would do well to emulate Whitman. They will find that the fall forests, when seen from the inside, present new patterns in color and form at every step. An old stump wears a crown of emerald moss; the Virginia creeper hangs in cascades of scarlet; autumn leaves against the sky take on more delicate tints; leaf patterns on the forest floor become magic carpets, and even the scorned poison ivy assumes a brilliant beauty. At this time of the year the weather usually cooperates with bright sunshine to temper the crisp air. When conditions are just right, it provides one of the most exhilarating experiences in nature. Reports from several sections in the northeast indicate the display is better than usual this fall. On the following pages the color camera follows the old custom and takes a walk in the autumn woods. It is a custom that should be revived in the automobile age. It is good for the soul, it tones up the body and it's all free.

Walt Whitman, in bronze, walks the woods of autumn, a symbol to all true hikers

Young sugar maples shed their foliage to carpet a woodland path. Such sights can be seen only from inside the woods

To look up through the mad pattern of sugar maple leaves against a blue sky is to see one of the grandest sights in all nature

Water willows growing in the shallows of a lake at Bear Mountain, N.Y. accent the blue of the soft ripples

Moss-covered stumps and stones provide brilliant green contrast to the leafy pattern on the ground

Leaves of white oak, red and sugar maples float on forest rain pools as though attached to a mirror

Mellow afternoon sunlight brings out the rich texture in the deep-furrowed bark of a chestnut oak