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One Last Shot of Hope

Hope Valley (10/16/17) Susan Taylor

Hope Valley (10/16/17) Susan Taylor

Hope Valley (10/16/17) Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor sent these images taken in the Hope Valley, last week. They were such jewels, though no longer available to be seen, that we had to share them.

What you’re more likely to see are those taken by Phillip Reedy and Clayton Peoples.

Phillip timed a visit to be in the Hope Valley and setup before sunrise to photograph snow and fall color before the snow would begin to melt.

He noted that while most of the aspen in the Hope Valley are now bare, there are some with reasonably good color remaining.  Though, the cabin at Red Lake Creek is now “totally bare, even on the mountainside above the cabin.”

Aspen Leaves and Snow, Hope Valley (10/20/17) Phillip Reedy

Clayton Peoples had the same idea, visiting Lake Tahoe and finding spots of color surrounded by a wet dusting of heavy snow.

The heavy blanket of snow dropped late last week has mostly melted (following the warm, sunny weather that followed) and the scene is similar to the Hope Valley, mostly Past Peak, but with pockets of color to be seen.

Clayton wrote, “Color can be found in the lower elevations (near the Lake) among aspens and cottonwoods; it can also be found in a few aspen groves hanging tough in the higher elevations.

“For instance, near Tahoe Meadows (on the NV side, along Mt. Rose Highway), there is a gnarled, weathered grove of aspens that tends to turn color in mid-October despite its high elevation (approximately 8,000ft). This grove is going off right now, and is at Peak (75-100%). A number of inches have fallen at this elevation, adding to the beauty. At the right angle, one can capture a photo of orange-hued aspens with the majestic Lake Tahoe in the background, 2,000ft below.

Tahoe Meadows (10/20/17) Clayton Peoples

Hope Valley – Past Peak – You Missed It.

Lake Tahoe – Past Peak – You Missed It.

Lake Tahoe (10/20/17) Clayton Peoples

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Record-Breaking Heat: Is Autumn Even Close?

Quaking Aspen, Agate Bay, North Lake Tahoe (9/4/17) John Poimiroo

With California experiencing record-breaking temperatures statewide this past week (Death Valley recorded 129.72 degrees – tying its previous record), one has to wonder whether all that hot air will delay the appearance of fall color.

There was certainly little of it to be seen in the Northern Sierra this past weekend. On a getaway at North Lake Tahoe, only a few spots of color could be found.

So, I called Parcher’s Resort at 9,290′ near South Lake in Bishop Creek Canyon (Inyo County), which is about the highest and earliest reporting location in our network of color spotters. The desk clerk at Parchers (Jared Smith was out fishing, lucky guy) said “just tiny splotches of yellow” can be seen in the aspen groves that surround the resort and along South Lake Road.

As can be seen in this photo, the aspen appear to be healthy and vibrant. Last winter’s heavy snowfall has kept them nourished. So, when they do begin turning lime, yellow, orange, pink and red, the show should be long-lasting and brilliant.

Soon, the hot days of summer will vanish and the golden days of autumn will be here.

Bishop Creek Canyon – Just Starting

June Lake – Just Starting

Ebbett’s Pass – Just Starting

Lake Tahoe – Just Starting

Shasta Cascade – Just Starting

Big Bear/So. Calif – Just Starting

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Mountain Ash Peaking at Tahoe

American mountain ash, Incline Village, NV (11/14/16) John Poimiroo

American mountain ash, Incline Village, NV (11/14/16) John Poimiroo

American mountain ash (Sorbus americana), a tree that is native to New England and eastern Canada, is peaking at Incline Village, NV.

The exotic has compound, odd-pinnate leaves of a bright yellow and gold color right now, and carries large bundles of berries that will last through winter.

While the native stands of aspen, dogwood, bigleaf maple and cottonwood are past peak at Lake Tahoe, landscaped forests are on a different fall color cycle, with mountain ash providing eye-catching color in mid November in neighborhoods near the Sierra Nevada College campus and the Hyatt Lake Tahoe.

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High 49°/Low 20°
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High 36°/Low 15°
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High 41°/Low 18°

Tahoe Ranges from Just Starting to Near Peak

Hwy 267, Lake Tahoe (9/18/16) Clayton Peoples

Hwy 267, Lake Tahoe (9/18/16) Clayton Peoples

Hwy 267, Lake Tahoe (9/18/16) Clayton Peoples

Hwy 267, Lake Tahoe (9/18/16) Clayton Peoples

Tahoe Rim Trail, Barker Pass to Twin Peaks (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Tahoe Rim Trail, Barker Pass to Twin Peaks (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Fireweed, Tahoe Rim Trail (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Fireweed, Tahoe Rim Trail (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Tahoe Rim Trail, Barker Pass to Twin Peaks (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Tahoe Rim Trail, Barker Pass to Twin Peaks (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Tahoe Rim Trail, Barker Pass to Twin Peaks (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Tahoe Rim Trail, Barker Pass to Twin Peaks (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Maple Leaves, Tahoe Rim Trail (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Maple Leaves, Tahoe Rim Trail (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Tahoe Rim Trail, Barker Pass to Twin Peaks (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Tahoe Rim Trail, Barker Pass to Twin Peaks (9/18/16) Kimberly Kolafa

Lake Tahoe was the destination of color spotter Clayton Peoples this past weekend.  He reports, “In general, color extent varies considerably based on elevation. It is largely ‘just starting’ at lake level, but has progressed to ‘near peak’ in some higher elevations along the rim.”

Just Starting (0-10%) Lake Tahoe Lake Level (6,200 ft). Color is just beginning along the lake itself. Aspens are turning lime green, cottonwoods are getting some patches of yellow.

Patchy (10-50%) Lake Tahoe Mountainsides (6,200-7,000 ft). Color is beginning in patches in the aspen groves on the mountainsides along/near the Lake. 

Near Peak (50-75%) Specific Lake Tahoe Rim locations (7,000+ ft). Although still patchy in some places, some groves have really taken off and are near peak. This is especially true of the oft-visited grove on CA Hwy 267 near Brockway Summit. Portions of the grove are fully yellow, and the trees are dropping leaves. Will likely reach peak within the week.

“It’s all about the shrubbery,” Kimberly Kolafa reported after her weekend hike along the Tahoe Rim Trail, saying that fireweed, willow and maple are turning a mix of orange, red and gold amidst green.

 Patchy (50%)  Tahoe Rim Trail/PCT, Barker Pass Trailhead to Twin Peaks –  7650 -8700′, it’s all about the shrubbery, along the trail at your feet, up the sides of rocky volcanic plugs and high walls of slate and talus – fireweed, willow and maple are turning orange, red and gold, mixed with green.   You will also be delighted that there are a few wildflowers still in bloom and abundant views of Lake Tahoe on this 5 1/2 mile section hike to the base of Twin Peaks (10 miles round trip, you can hike a shorter distance and still see wonderful color).  Aspens and cottonwood are also beginning to make small changes, shrubbery is yellow on the seven mile Blackwood Canyon Road enroute to the Barker Pass Trailhead.

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First Report: Marlette Lake, Tahoe

Marlette Mirror, Marlette Lake, NV (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Marlette Mirror, Marlette Lake, NV (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Color spotter Dotty Molt scores a rare First Report by taking the trail to Marlette Lake near Lake Tahoe.

Marlette Lake, North Canyon Road (10/9/15) Dotty Molt (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Marlette Lake, North Canyon Road (10/9/15) Dotty Molt (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Marlette Lake (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Marlette Lake (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

She writes, “People seem to forget that we have fall color around Lake Tahoe.

“Marlette Lake can only be reached by hiking or mountain biking back 4.5 miles from Spooner Lake.

“It’s a moderate uphill, but a quick downhill, especially on a bike.

“Aspen line the trail all the way back to the Lake, and Marlette has beautiful stands of Aspen on the Southwestern shoreline.

“Beautiful colors are seen around 9 a.m. when the sun peeks over the ridge, illuminating the Aspen from behind.”

Dotty makes an important point… Consider the orientation of the fall color on the landscape in relationship to light.

That is: will it be best viewed in morning or afternoon? Will it be backlit or front lit? How have you set your camera for depth of field, motion or sharpness? Is there something to make the image extraordinary, such as a compositional element that would enhance the image (Dotty’s awareness of the sun star and mirror effect)? Finally, what post production work may be necessary to duplicate what you are seeing and feeling?

Peak GO NOW! – Marlette Lake

Autumn Abstract, Marlette Lake (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Autumn Abstract, Marlette Lake (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Marlette Lake, North Canyon Rd (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Marlette Lake, North Canyon Rd (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Sunstar, Marlette Lake (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

Sunstar, Marlette Lake (10/9/15) Dotty Molt

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Tahoe Glittering Gold

Lake Tahoe (10/18/14) Kimberly Kofala

Lake Tahoe (10/18/14) Kimberly Kofala

Lake Tahoe (Peak – 75 – 100%) – Color spotter Kimberly Kofala reports Lake Tahoe is glittering with gold. GO NOW!

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Tahoe Still Peaking

Lake Tahoe, East Shore (10/21/13) DK

Lake Tahoe, East Shore (10/21/13) DK

DK from Glenbrook on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe pitches us these shots of the east shore still glowing at Lake Tahoe.

Glenwood, Lake Tahoe (10/21/13) DK

Glenbrook, Lake Tahoe (10/21/13) DK

Tahoe City (10/19/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Tahoe City (10/19/13) Linnea Wahamaki

W - Donner Summit

Donner Summit (10/18/13) Linnea Wahamaki

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Lake Tahoe – Cottonwood and aspen are still dressed in gold along the shore of the lake, though each day more leaves flutter to the forest floor.  Linnea Wahamaki sends these snaps of Tahoe City and Donner Summit.

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Tahoe Peaking at Brockway Summit (Hwy 267)

Brockway Summit (CA- 267) , Truckee (10/5/13) John Poimiroo

Brockway Summit (CA- 267) , Truckee (10/5/13) John Poimiroo

Lake Tahoe is approaching peak or at peak.

GO NOW! – 50-75% – North Shore Drive (Hwy 28) – Willows have turned chartreuse, aspen are 30 to 50% turned, exotic species of maple are red, orange and auburn with tinges of gold.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – West Shore (Hwy 89) – Aspen are between 30 and 50% turned, while willows and exotic maples have peaked.

Brockway Summit (10/5/13) John Poimiroo

Brockway Summit (10/5/13) John Poimiroo

GO NOW! – 75-100% – Brockway Summit (7,100′) – The Truckee side of Hwy 267 is peaking with aspen groves varying from 50% to full peak.  Beautiful orange and yellow-orange is seen in the grove farthest up the road.  Many bridal couples and models were getting photographed near an old shed in a meadow off the road.

GO NOW! – 50-75% – Truckee – Most of the aspen are between 30 and 50%, while willows, and exotic maple and rose hips are peaking.

Awesome Autumn at Lake Tahoe

Quaking Aspen, North Lake Tahoe (10/28/12) John Poimiroo

This has been an extended autumn with little wind (so far) to knock turned leaves from the trees.  It’s now peaking from June Lake to the Northern Sierra.  Over the weekend,  we drove to North Lake Tahoe and found spots of color along I-80, CA-267 and CA-28 (North Lake Blvd.).

Black Cottonwood, Kings Beach (10/28/12) John Poimiroo

North Lake Tahoe (10/28/12) John Poimiroo

75 – 100% – Cisco Grove (5,500′) – a large stand of cottonwood are golden yellow beside I-80.

75 – 100% – Northstar at Tahoe – Stands of aspen on the east side of Hwy 267 are golden or past peak.

75 – 100% – North Lake Blvd. – Stands of aspen along Hwy 28 have turned yellow and are approaching past peak.

Weekend Update: Hope Valley Reborn – Go Now!

Hope Valley (10/14/12) Kimberly Kolafa

75 – 100% – Hope Valley – Kimberly Kolafa posted this photograph taken in the Hope Valley over the weekend.  It shows the remarkable change that’s occurred there.  Reported last Friday, a spotter from the Hope Valley said the aspen near Sorenson’s were past peak, but as this photo shows, only half the aspen are at that stage, while fully another half are just turning lime colored.  So, we’re reclassifying the Hope Valley as peaking, 75 – 100%. Go Now!

Conway Summit (10/14/12) Carolyn Webb

Color spotter Carolyn Webb sends this photograph of Conway Summit seen from a hill across from her house.

75 – 100% – Conway Summit – Go Now!