Gone With The Wind
It began blowing at about noon yesterday in the Sierra foothills and blew through the afternoon and night, stripping trees of leaves that had turned. Snow fell to 5,000′ in elevation. Steve Hemphill of Sierra-at-Tahoe said a foot fell last night. Webcams from Heavenly and Kirkwood show a heavy dusting, though those images showed brush poking through, here and there. It will take a bit longer before we’ll be skiing, even though Heavenly began making snow today.
On Saturday, we traveled to Pleasant Valley in the Gold Country where the oaks were beautifully orange along Snow’s Road, south of Camino and Apple Hill. High winds likely stripped a bit of that color, yesterday, though leaves that hadn’t yet turned will remain on their branches and color up in the next week or two.
Also traveling US 50 (The Lincoln Highway) this past Saturday was Vijay Sridhar, who was on his way to Emerald Bay. Vijay was taken by the beautiful color to be seen beside US50, which was at peak. He noted the beautiful combinations of green, yellow and orange as the highway traveled beside the American River.
Color spotter Richard McCutcheon sent this image of what the color looked like at Chrystal Lake in Plumas County. The beautiful show that was at peak along Hwy 89 in the Northern Sierra has now been blown away by rain, snow and wind.
Mono County’s color spotter, Alicia Vennos, said the change began with, “…big winds yesterday afternoon and all through the night, and it’s snowing quite heavily right now (11 a.m.)” She said, “driving the June Lake Loop yesterday late afternoon was like being in one of those booths where paper money is flying all around and you have to grab as many bills as you can – the leaves were swirling like crazy through the air! So our precious fall season has come to an end.”
There wasn’t much left on the trees in Mono County, as the show had already descended to 6,000′, so the storm stripped what would have dropped anyway, over the coming week.
We’re now in a typical pattern of early storms then breaks. It’s predicted to be cold for the next week, but then warm slightly. That means color will continue to develop at lower altitudes and autumn has not ended. The Shasta Cascade and Gold Country regions will likely be at or near full peak in the next two weeks, with color appearing between 3,000 and 4,000 feet.
Photographer Phoebe Chuason sent a link to images she’d captured in the Eastern Sierra on Oct. 23, well before the storm flew through. She took our advice to GO NOW! and got lovely photos of the peak, including a late season shot at Cardinal Mine in the Bishop Creek Canyon that is pure magic. CLICK HERE to see her photos.
Color spotter Linnea Wahamaki sends this photo of fall color at the AT&T Business Park in San Ramon. It’s representative of the many beautiful urban forests that are at or near peak throughout California. Great color can be seen in Sacramento, Burlingame, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Walnut Creek and San Ramon.
Past Peak – Mono County - You missed it. Alicia thanks all who came to enjoy the fall colors of Mono County this autumn and says she’s already missing the show, but looking forward to 2014.
30 – 50% – Gold Country (3,500′) - Pleasant Valley is at too low an elevation to have been snowed upon, but the many oaks that are turning from green to orange have likely lost a good percentage of leaves from yesterday’s winds. Still, color will continue to show on leaves that hadn’t turned.
GO NOW! 50 – 75% – US 50 (4,000 to 5,000′) - Black oaks are peaking along The Lincoln Highway between Pollock Pines and Kyburz.
Tags: autumn leaves, California, California Fall Color, Eastern Sierra, Fall Color, Fall Color in California, fall leaves, foliage, Gold Country, High Sierra, Mono County, photographing fall color, Photography, Shasta Cascade, Urban Forests