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The Leaf Patrol: Autumn Colors

Every autumn, leaf peepers fall all over themselves trying to get to the most vivid patches. Now, enthusiasts willing to hear out a few plugs for motor-coach tours can get the scoop on action across the United States and Canada through the Tauck Foliage Hot Line (800/214-8209), sponsored by Tauck Tours. Scotty Johnston, who has been following the leaf scene for 38 years, gathers data from weather maps and a 16-person field team. "We're watching the changes hour by hour," he says. Here, a few of Johnston's pick hits for the season:

Arkansas's Route Seven in the Ozarks. "The white and red oaks turn multicolored; black gum gets red, even purple."

Ste.-Agathe-des-Monts in Quebec's Laurentians. "Red and sugar maples contrast with firs and spruces."

The Maroon Bells near Aspen. "The place to see Colorado's prime foliage tree, the aspen."

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VIRTUAL FOLIAGE

Watch the leaves turn and fall without leaving your desk:

  • The Weather Channel's Fall Page which includes hot topics like why leaves change color (remember freshman biology?) and allergy alerts, and has swell peak color maps;
  • StormFax's Fall Color Hotline has a list of state tourism foliage hotlines;
  • Or, call call the Forest Service's Fall Color Hotline at 800/354-4595.

--ANN SHIELDS

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