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How Have Wildfires Affected Fall Color?

Dead pine at sunset, Sequoia National Park (11-12/16) Anson Davalos

Thanks to this summer’s wildfires, it’s been hazy for a month here in the Sierra Foothills.

Haze is not unusual to the foothills. Each autumn, Central Valley rice fields and other agricultural croplands are burned to dispose of leftover straw (stubble) and control disease and pest problems. For centuries before, native people burned grasses at summer’s end, to make it easier to collect oak acorns (a principal food source).

So, hazy skies have been part of California’s late summer for thousands of years. Though this summer’s many wildfires added particulates, gasses and ash in abnormally high quantities to our normally clean skies, causing people to ask, “How have the wildfires affected fall color?”

Plant scientists say smoke both benefits and harms plants.

Benefit – Smoke or haze are the product of combustion, which means higher levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) can exist, compared to normal. As CO2 increases, plant growth does as well, as long as there is sufficient sunlight. Nutrients in ash from a fire benefit new growth. And, fire opens a forest, eliminating mature trees and making space for young plants.

Harm – Smoke also drops ash and other particulates that reduce photosynthesis; those can clog “stomatal pores, reducing gas exchange in the leaf,” New Mexico University scientists write. Holocaustic wildfire can devastate a forest’s ecosystem, seriously depleting endangered species.

As we reported two years ago (Death of the Sierra), 100 years of fire suppression has created a catastrophe for the forest, air quality, wildlife and humanity. This year, we ate the bitter fruit of those decisions as we watched forests in Mendocino County, Shasta County, Mariposa County and countless other locations go up in smoke.

The most evident effect of a wildfire on fall color is that it will take years for stands of most species of deciduous trees to grow back. Deciduous plants that grow near water (aspen, cottonwood, willows) are the most resilient and first to recover.

Aspen Grove, San Bernardino National Forest (10/12/13) Lisa Wilkerson-Willis

It’s been three years since an oft-photographed aspen grove near Big Bear was burned in a major wildfire. At the time, we reported that the aspen would be the first trees to recover (Burnt Aspen to Recover).

Today, we spoke with Teddi Boston at the Barton Flats Visitor Center who said that within three months of that fire, the aspen were three feet tall and they’ve recovered fast since.

However, access to this grove is limited by logging which is occurring on the one-lane road that leads to the grove. So, until the logging ends access to the aspen is blocked.

One way to see aspen in the San Bernardino National Forest is to visit its Barton Flats Visitor Center where many aspen grow near the center. We also plan to send a reporter out to the Aspen Grove at peak to photograph Big Bear’s grove since the fire.

In contrast, deciduous forests in areas overrun by this past summer’s wildfires weren’t fire-resistant aspen, and were incinerated. Most of the deciduous trees lost to this year’s fires were maple, oaks and alder, which will take years to recover.

Fortunately, as expansive as this summer’s fires were, the number of trees destroyed still represent a fraction of the entire forest. Areas that were not burned will continue to display fall color, as they have in past years. For example, Yosemite’s fires occurred mostly outside the National Park. None of the black oak, bigleaf maple, or dogwood in Yosemite Valley were damaged.

Western dogwood, Plumas County (8/27/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Big Leaf Maple, Plumas County (8/27/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Nevertheless, color spotters have been reporting signs that haze and overcast may have reduced photosynthesis, triggering earlier displays of autumn color.

Jeff Luke Titcomb reports from Plumas County that Western Dogwood are showing early rose and Big Leaf Maple are beginning to turn yellow.

Chinese pistache, El Dorado Hills (8/28/18) John Poimiroo

Elsewhere in Sierra Foothill suburbs, exotic Chinese Pistache are showing early change of color, becoming splashed with yellow and orange.

Offering an optimistic view is Butte County color spotter Cindy Hoover who reports, “The one thing I have really been watching are the aspen. I think this year may be a phenomenal year since there’s been so much rain. The aspen leaves are darker green this year. I can only imagine the bounty of yellow, deep gold and red they’re going to share.”

Reports like Cindy’s indicate that a normal autumn is more likely than an accellerated one.

So, do not confuse today’s reintroduction of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, the feel of autumn in the air or a scattered number of trees and shrubs turning color early as proof that autumn has arrived.

Autumn has not arrived significantly earlier than in past years. Fall will happen just about as it has in previous years, regardless of the year’s many wildfires. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte (8/28/18) Starbucks

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Where Have All The Monarchs Gone?

Monarch Butterflies, Santa Cruz (1/15/2006) John Poimiroo

Ninety percent of the nation’s monarch butterflies have disappeared during the past 20 years. So many have disappeared that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service anticipates determining in 2019 whether to designate monarchs as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed in Michigan. Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS

The colorful insects return to California in late autumn each year, but fewer and fewer of them have been doing so because they depend upon a few species of milkweed for reproduction, and habitats conducive to supporting monarchs have been declining.

In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to provide financial assistance to create or improve monarch habitat.

The Michigan Farm Bureau reports that farmers and land owners will be able to apply for compensation at NRCS field offices, this year, for having created conservation cover and field borders or conducted prescribed burns and other brush management steps. The financial aid is designed to offset the cost of establishing or improving pollinator and monarch habitat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has indicated it will begin evaluating monarch conservation measures across the migration route with a decision expected in 2019 on whether to designate monarchs a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Individuals can also help by planting butterfly and pollinator gardens and encouraging the creation of monarch habitats in their communities. CLICK HERE to learn how you can help.

Let’s keep this beautiful aspect of fall color returning to California.

 

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Giving Thanks and Looking Back at 2017

On this Thanksgiving Day, CaliforniaFallColor.com is thankful to well over 100 color spotters and photographers who contributed reports, photographs and videos in 2017.

They include (from first turned leaf reported): Darrell Sano,  LA Leaf Peeper, Alena Nicholas, Sandy Steinman, Josh Wray, Anirudh Natekar, Jeff Simpson, Jared Smith, Shanda Ochs, Kimberly Kolafa, Clayton Peoples, Alicia Vennos, Phillip Reedy, Naresh Satyan, Max Forster, Jeri Rangel, Carol Novacek, Nancy Wright, Jeff Luke Titcomb, Marc Hoshovsky, Crys Black, Jeff Hemming, Michael Beatley, Tracy Zhou, Gabriel Leete, Frank McDonough, Anson Davalos, Karin Davalos, Susan Morning, Dennis Vance, Daniel Stas, Dan Clark, Mohammad Delwar, Bruce Wendler, Will Ridgeway, Del Hossain, Andrew Zheng, Rich Aeschliman, Lee Foster, Nancy Hull, Martha Fletcher, Chris Gallagher, Gene Miller, Nicole Coburn, Jay Thesken, Steve Greer, Steve Shinn, Star Masterson, Jim Gardner, Leor Pantillat, Kathy Wasson, Terry Rightmire, Daniel Danzig, Dandy Candywolf, Jim Lancaster, Marc Hoshovsky, Kevin Gilligan, Ravi Ranganathan, Michael Brandt, Robert Cherenson, Erich Castellon,  Ryan Prawiradjaja, Cory Poole, Jennifer Tiffan, Ahnalise Draper, Trent Vierra, Dylan Ren, Kathy Jonokuchi, Bridgett Lochen, Mark Harding, Dan Varvais, Shane Coker, Peter Robbins, Ben Waterman, Blair Lockhart, Gene Miller, Niven D Le, Maggie Huang, John Caffrey, Micayla Anderson, Tony Rice, Ren Trujillo, Sigthor Markuson, Xin Wang, Simon Lau, Jennifer Franklin, Daniel Stas, Roger Gonzales, Brian Patterson, Laura Shane, Suvadeep Ghosh Dastidar, Adam Weist, Jay Huang, James Forbes, Susan Taylor, Shreenivasan Manievannan, Hari Reddy, Larry Robbins, Mark Harding, Michael Morris, Jeff Hemming, Mark Harding, David Olden, Parrish Todd, Herb Hwang, Michele James, Steve Crowley, Deane Simpson, Deborah Garber, Nancy Hull, Anthony Occhipinti, Mohan Ram, Terry Willard, Dona Montuori Whitaker, Laura Jean, Walt Gabler, Robert Kermen, Paige Kermen, Niles Armstrong, Cindy Lee Hooper, Danie Schwartz, William Thompson, Titus Davis, Peter Mikuljan, Al Auger, Vasu Nargundkar, David Laurence Sharp and Ron Tyler, who produced the above video.

We’re also grateful to the many readers who posted photos and reports to our Facebook and Twitter pages (you are too numerous to name).

Special thanks are expressed to Inyo County Tourism, Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, Mono County Tourism, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, and The California Parks Company for underwriting California Fall Color, and to the many reporters and media who carried our reports and gave attention to what we have shown about California’s fall color.

If we missed thanking you here, please know it wasn’t intentional. We are truly indebted to every contributor.

Of course, this list is incomplete without mentioning Joan, my wife, who has driven the car and pulled it to the shoulder so that I could jump out to photograph a particularly beautiful location; humored my recording of color percentages, species and elevations; pointed out particularly beautiful color; and tolerated my exuberance in showing her stunning photographs taken by our contributors.

Of course, our deepest thanks go to the many tens of thousands of people who have read, followed, reacted and commented here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. You are, after all, the reason we do this.

Above is our video impression of autumn in California in 2017. We produce a new video each autumn. To see them all, CLICK HERE.

The photographs selected for this year’s video represent: what happened this autumn, the extent and diversity of fall color across the state, and some of the finest photographs taken in 2017.

If you would like your photographs considered for inclusion in next autumn’s video, take pictures of fall color in places not often photographed by other photographers. As, the most competition occurs among photographs of popular destinations.

Autumn doesn’t end today. It continues for nearly a month longer. We’ll continue to post photos and reports, as received. Though today, we begin to dial back reports and will post them less frequently. We have also stopped issuing weekly reports to California TV meteorologists, travel and outdoor writers.

So, enjoy your Thanksgiving Day and plan an Orange Friday.

See you next autumn, dude.

California (Peak 75-100%) GO NOW! – In our hearts, California is always peaking.

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Looking Back at 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016

Tomorrow, we post our annual Thanksgiving Day message and video review of 2017.

It will be our fifth annual “California Fall Color Looks Back” video. As, although CaliforniaFallColor.com went live in 2009, it wasn’t until 2013 that we began posting video reviews.

In advance of seeing “California Fall Color Looks Back at 2017,” we thought you might like to see those from years past.

Ron Tyler created each video. Ron is head of the Tyler Marketing Group, an El Dorado Hills-based marketing communications consultancy with expertise in social media, product marketing and video.

Each of the photographs selected for these videos is representative of what happened that autumn, the extent and diversity of fall color then seen across the state, and some of the finest photographs taken that year.

2016

2015

2014

2013

 

 

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Fall Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

California loves its farmer’s markets.

There are literally hundreds of them in the state, and they are found in just about any city of significant population.

Los Angeles has 30 farmer’s markets… some periodic, some permanent.

Although farmer’s markets can be enjoyed year-round here, they’re best in autumn.

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

There’s just nothing quite as satisfying as exploring a farmer’s market’s booths and wares on a crisp autumn day. You walk the market in a cozy sweater and spend time leisurely chatting with the farmers, artists, authors and vendors.

Buying at a farmer’s market isn’t just about what you buy, it’s about the relationship you make with the person selling it.

Today, I bought three books, as birthday gifts, directly from the author, a writing instructor at the University of the Pacific.

I didn’t need a book review to know they might be something worth treasuring. His enthusiasm communicated that. You don’t get that on Amazon.com. Spending time at a farmer’s market gives you that and more.

Robert Kermen spent Veterans Day in Nevada City at its farmer’s market. The fall color in town was so-so, but the color to be seen at its farmer’s market was off the charts.

CLICK HERE for where to find farmer’s markets in California.

 

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Statewide Summary: Peak 500′ to 2000′

Vineyard, Old River Rd., Ukiah (10/31/17) Walt Gabler

Peak fall color has descended to elevations below 2,000’. That means the best fall color can now be seen in the Sierra foothills, Gold Country and, increasingly, in the Central Valley.

Red maple and quaking aspen leaves, Agate Bay, Lake Tahoe (11/1/17) John Poimiroo

Splashes of peak color can still be seen at higher elevations, though they are not sufficiently widespread to paint an entire region as peaking. For example, areas of North Lake Tahoe have cottonwood and aspen still full of bright yellow and gold leaves, but travel a mile or so and the trees have been stripped of their leaves.

In the Northern Sierra, Plumas County was in the final stages of peak color this past week, though again, the color is at risk of being stripped. The same is true of other areas above 3,000’ in the Shasta Cascade that had peak color.

The Eastern Sierra, with the exception of Bishop and the Owens Valley are now Past Peak.

The Central Sierra (Yosemite and Kings Canyon Sequoia) are nearing Past Peak. Black oak continue to show bright color in Yosemite Valley, but almost all the dogwood, bigleaf maple and cottonwood are past peak. The Wawona Road in Yosemite is still speckled with bright red, yellow and orange color, though it is falling, increasingly.

In Southern California, all mountain communities above 2,000′ are Past Peak.

With an early winter storm predicted for the weekend, fully peaked color will likely be stripped from mountainous areas.

Peak Fall Color has now descended to from 500 to 2,000’ in elevation. This includes California’s vineyards which filling the vineyards with burgundy, red, orange, yellow and lime grape leaves, by type of grape variety. From now to Thanksgiving Day, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties and northern San Diego County vineyards should have successive shows of bright color by grape variety.

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California Roundup

Green Lake (9/23/17) Naresh Satyan

Color spotters from across California have been contributing their observations.  Here’s a roundup of what they’re seeing.

Eastern Sierra

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/24/17) Clayton Peoples

Clayton Peoples spent Sunday in the upper reaches of Bishop Creek Canyon and reports, “Although I agree with color spotter Will Ridgeway on rating the high elevations above Lake Sabrina as “Near Peak” (50-75%), much of Bishop Creek Canyon is still “Patchy” (10-50%)–but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still beautiful color to be found.

“For instance, the upper portion of the groves above Cardinal Village have turned mostly orange. Given a few more days, this subset of aspens will likely be at peak color. Likewise, some of the aspen around Lake Sabrina have begun to turn yellow and/or orange–but will likely need a week or more to reach peak color.

Nevertheless, Clayton predicts there will be “numerous weeks of good color to come in Bishop Creek Canyon as color fills in more fully in the high elevations, then works its way down.” Clayton would assess Bishop Creek Canyon as “Peak of the Week” worthy… and we agree.

South Lake Rd, near Parchers, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/17) Naresh Satyan

Naresh Satyan hiked from South Lake in Bishop Creek Canyon to Green Lake (up to 12,400′) before snow turned him back, yesterday. He reports that aspens along South Lake road are still mostly green and healthy), though he found a few stands surrounding the Parchers Resort that are turning nicely.

The color appears to be best at or above 10,000′ which coincides with a Near Peak (GO NOW!) report we received this past week from Sabrina Lake.

You will, however, find peak color among the willows, grasses and ground covers. That is evident in the photo of Green Lake (11,260′) which Naresh described as “spectacular and well worth the hike to get there.” Of course, be prepared for cold temperatures. A light dusting of snow on the mountains and some lupines still blooming made for an unforgettable hike.

 

Shasta Cascade

Ruth Hartman reports from Coffee Creek in Trinity County (Shasta Cascade) that color this past week’s cold snap got dogwood turning red and varigated green along Hwy 3 in Trinity County at 3000′. You’ll find it while heading north along the Slate grade, two miles before Tannery Gulch campground. Odd, but we’re seeing the same with planted dogwood at 800′ in elevation, east of Sacramento in El Dorado Hills.

Southern California

Gingko Biloba, Long Beach (9/23/17) Trent Vierra

Liquidambar, Long Beach (9/23/17) Trent Vierra

Trent Vierra interrupted his morning bike ride, yesterday, to snap a couple of shots of gingko biloba and liquidambar brightening up along 1st St. in the Bluff Heights neighborhood of Long Beach, and commented that he’s been noticing change in color among these exotic species.

That’s typical of liquidambar, though the gingkos tend to keep to a more regular schedule. Still, Trent scores the first “First Report” for Long Beach. While doing that, he also got a shot of a Maine license plate beside emerging California Fall Color… double score.

 

 

 

 

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Special Report: Holiday Light Festivals

Celebration Swings, Celebration Plaza, California's Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Celebration Swings, Celebration Plaza, California’s Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Often thought of as winter events, most holiday light festivals actually begin in autumn. They’ve become increasingly elaborate, to the point that neighborhood holiday displays and Christmas trees, parades, caroling and ice rinks in town squares now are comparatively small and quaint.

Snowflake Lake at Columbia, California's Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Snowflake Lake at Columbia, California’s Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Mistletones, Hometown Square, California's Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Mistletones, Hometown Square, California’s Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Celebration Plaza, California's Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Celebration Plaza, California’s Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

This holiday season, California’s Great America in Santa Clara holds Winterfest, and Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park becomes Knott’s Merry Farm. Both are elaborate holiday-themed shows that cover up to two-thirds of the parks with every imaginable icon of the season.

At Great America, ice skaters swirl in front of the double-decked Carousel Columbia on Snowflake Lake. Snow machines blow flakes into the chill night air; St. Nick is there for family photos; there are live reindeer to pet; Mrs. Claus is in the kitchen preparing cookies; craftsmen create one-of-a-kind gifts; and Charlie Brown’s Tree Lot is just as imagined on TV Christmas specials.

The park is filled with thrills (10 major thrill and children’s rides areas operate) and music… not just the Christmas songs amplified through the park’s sound system, but at performances throughout California’s Great America, with a company of singers and dancers serenading a tree lighting that occurs several times nightly and in festive stage and street shows, called Cool Yule, Holly Jolly Trolly, Jingle Jazz, Mistletones and It’s Christmas Snoopy.

But then Great America and Knott’s are not alone. The Roaring Camp Railroads operates Holiday Lights Trains from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Dec. weekends and daily, Dec. 17 – 23. As the trains’ vintage railroad cars, adorned with thousands of colorful lights, roll along the streets of Victorian Santa Cruz, passengers sing holiday carols, sip hot spiced cider and listen to live music as Santa visits. A Chanukah Train leaves on Dec. 29.

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim holds a number of holiday-themed happenings: the Christmas Fantasy Parade, World of Color, Disney !Viva Natividad!, Santa’s Holiday Visit, many holiday themed shows and (need I say?) Holiday Magic Fireworks.

At the San Diego Zoo, there’s Jungle Bells with millions of twinkling lights and carolers singing above the roars and cries of zoo animals. Even Sea World lights up at Christmas and is home to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and yes, you can compete in reindeer games.

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia and Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo are transformed into winter wonderlands lit with millions of lights and thrills to scare the jelly right out of Santa’s belly.

In the Central Valley, Global Winter Wonderland at Sacramento’s CalExpo and the Tulare County Fairgrounds are mind-boggling displays of fantasy lands set in lights, plus carnival rides, ice skating and parades.

So, just because little natural fall color remains on the trees (it’s transitioning from peak to past peak along the coast), animated, cheery shows of manmade color are lighting the last days of autumn to the first days of winter, across California.

Holiday Lights Festivals, Statewide – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

 

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California Fall Color Looks Back at 2016

On this Thanksgiving Day, CaliforniaFallColor.com is thankful to every color spotter and photographer who contributed photographs and reports in 2016.

They include (from first turned leaf reported): LA Leaf Peeper, Darrell Sano, Alena Nicholas, Sandy Steinman, Sweetshade Lane, Chuck Eads, Josh Wray, Anirudh Natekar, Carolyn Webb, Jill Donald, Mark Finan, Eileen Javora, Don Vilfer, Greg Newbry, Jeff Simpson, Jared Smith, Krisdina Karady, Leslie Morris, Shanda Ochs, Gary Young, Dave Olden, Kimberly Kolafa, Clayton Peoples, John Caffrey, Alicia Vennos, Kimberly Wilkes, Bob Weaver, Robert Provin, Sharon Roberts, Debbi Waldear, John Natelli, Vince Piercey, Kevin Lennox, Tim Fesko, Phillip Reedy, Elliott McGucken, Becky, Scott Turner, Naresh Satyan, Max Forster, Mark DeVitre, Daniel Stas, Mike Nellor, Leor Pantilat, Kevin Rose, Julie Kirby, Gigi deJong, Michael Caffey, Abhi Bhaskaran, Andrew Zheng, Laura Zirino, Jan Davies, Jeri Rangel, Lorissa Soriano, Carol Novacek, Nancy Wright, Janet Fullwood, Jim Van Matre, Jeff Luke Titcomb, Marc Hoshovsky, Gene Miller, Raymond Pangilinan, Crys Black, Jeff Hemming, Michael Beatley, Maggie Huang, Wendy Zhou, Danny Hu, Susan Taylor, Tracy Zhou, Gabriel Leete, Frank McDonough, William Croce, Son H Nguyen, Skandar Reid, Dennis Hayes, Anson Davalos, and Ron Tyler, who produced the above video.

We’re also grateful to the many readers who posted photos and reports to our Facebook page (including: Brian Wong, Dave Butler, Pardhiv Kani, Jeff Guillory, Nancy Barron Booher, Mark Grover, Kathy Jonokuchi, Vera Fuad, Cory Poole, Sara Stillwell, Peter Stair, Front St. Media, JT Humphrey, Ray McLaughlin, Rose Comstock, Daklak Foto, Mark Spicer, Tracey Lee Brown, Joel Rathje, Connie Ostlund Varvais, Susan Walker Bell, Cristi Lanepa and Stephen Dietrich) and those who retweeted our Twitter posts (you are too numerous to name).

Special thanks are expressed to Inyo County Tourism, Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, Mono County Tourism, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, and The California Parks Company for underwriting California Fall Color, and to the many reporters and media who carried our reports and gave attention to what we have shown about California’s fall color.

This list is incomplete without mentioning Joan, my wife, who has researched plant species in reference books; driven the car, pulling it over to the shoulder at my whim, so that I could jump out to photograph a particularly beautiful location; humored my recording of color percentages, species and elevations; pointed out particularly beautiful color; and tolerated my exuberance in excitedly showing her wonderful photographs taken by contributors.

Of course, our deepest thanks go to the many tens of thousands of people who have followed CaliforniaFallColor.com here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. You are, after all, the reason we do this.

If we missed thanking you here, please know it wasn’t intentional. CaliforniaFallColor.com is indebted to every color spotter, photographer and commenter. Thank you all.

Autumn doesn’t end on Thanksgiving Day. It continues for nearly a month longer. We’ll continue to post photos and reports as received. Though today, we begin to dial back reports, posting them less frequently. We have also stopped issuing weekly reports to California TV meteorologists, travel and outdoor writers.

So, enjoy Thanksgiving Day. See you next autumn, dude.

California (Peak 75-100%) GO NOW! – In our hearts, California is always peaking.