California Fall Color
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Posts Tagged ‘Mt Laguna’

San Bernardino Mountains Near Peak

Wed ,04/11/2015
Rim of the World (11/4/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/4/15) Alena Nicholas

Arrowbear Lake (11/4/15) Alena Nicholas

Arrowbear Lake (11/4/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/4/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/4/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/4/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/4/15) Alena Nicholas

Southern California color spotter Alena Nicholas returned home to the San Bernardino Mountains to find the forest near peak along Rim of the World and Arrowbear Lake.

Alena promises to send more photos of Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory in coming days, though these already have us wishing we were there this evening to capture that sunset.

Mt. Laguna, San Diego County (11/2/15) Dylan Ren

Mt. Laguna, San Diego County (11/1/15) Dylan Ren

Mt. Laguna, San Diego County (11/2/15) Dylan Ren

Mt. Laguna, San Diego County (11/1/15) Dylan Ren

Elsewhere in Southern California, Dylan Ren photographed black oak peaking on Mt. Laguna in San Diego County.

Mt. Laguna is one of the best areas in So. Cal. to photograph black oak. A side benefit of driving the Sunrise Highway to Mt. Laguna is that an end destination is the mountain community of Julian, famous for its pies.

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Rim of the World

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Arrowbear Lake

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Mt. Laguna, San Diego County

The Damaging Effect of Drought on Beauty

Tue ,28/10/2014
Mt. Laguna Stilllife (10/27/14) Scott Turner

Mt. Laguna Still life (10/27/14) Scott Turner

Modern Hiker correspondent, hiker and color spotter Scott Turner spent yesterday afternoon at Mt. Laguna in eastern San Diego County and provides these compelling images of the effect of drought on trees that live at the edge of a desert.

Black Oak (10/27/14) Scott Turner

Black Oak (10/27/14) Scott Turner

Black Oak (10/27/14) Scott Turner

Black Oak (10/27/14) Scott Turner

Mt. Laguna (10/27/14) Scott Turner

Mt. Laguna (10/27/14) Scott Turner

Black oak there, which would normally be a vivid mix of green, lime, yellow, orange, gold and buff are, sadly, a dull beige. Scott said the effect of drought on the forests of Mt. Laguna are palpable.  Some trees appear to have lost the majority of their leaves, though what remains is still partially green.

Scott found it hard to assess the change, because so much has dropped, though he classifies Mt. Laguna as near peak, but nothing like the vibrant show seen last autumn.  He notes that the oaks were hit hard by bark beetles with a lot of them dying.

Scott plans to hike and photograph Mt. Palomar on Friday. On his last trip, he noted that the oaks there appeared to be healthier, but then they live at an elevation that is 1,000′ lower. That likely means Palomar’s peak is two weeks away.

On a separate Southern California note, I met with Jonathan Patterson of Lake Hemet yesterday.  Jonathan said the color is beginning to look beautiful around the lake.  He was reluctant to classify it as near peak, though from other reports made directly to me by John Koeberer who’d been there this weekend, the San Jacinto Mountains are a definite GO NOW!  Jonathan said Idyllwild has been peaking for a week.  Our recommendation is head up to the San Jacintos, camp at Lake Hemet in the middle of the color and take side trips to Idyllwild and Mountain Center.  If you get great photos of the San Jacintos, email them to us and we’ll post.

Mt. Laguna (Near Peak – 50 – 75%) – Drought and bark beetles have damaged the trees.  The color is not the brilliance it had last autumn.  Do a rain dance for Eastern San Diego County.

Idyllwild (Peak – 75 – 100%) – Beautiful color in and around Idyllwild is nearly past peak. GO NOW!

Lake Hemet (Near Peak – 50 – 75%) – Camp beside the lake surrounded by intense fall color.  Very few people and developing color that should be good for the next couple of weeks (weather permitting).  Just say no to Santa Anas! GO NOW!

Indian Summer at Hot Springs Mountain

Sun ,26/10/2014
Indian Summer at Hot Springs Mountain (10/25/14) Scott Turner

Indian Summer, Hot Springs Mountain (10/25/14) Scott Turner

Modern Hiker’s Scott Turner traveled out to Hot Springs Mountain in eastern San Diego County, yesterday to provide these images of the color change there and to inspire this article on Indian Summer.

Black Oak on Hot Springs Mountain (10/25/14) Scott Turner

Black Oak, Hot Springs Mountain (10/25/14) Scott Turner

Black Oak on Hot Springs Mountain (10/25/14) Scott Turner

Black Oak, Hot Springs Mountain (10/25/14) Scott Turner

Hot Springs Mountain is located on an Indian rancheria in eastern San Diego County. It’s a beautiful place, though remote, not very accessible and therefore not the kind of location most color spotters would venture.

That’s one reason we like Scott’s report so much. He repoted that black oaks are a lot further along than he thought they’d be. There’s a large mixed forest of oaks and pine on Hot Springs Mountain that are near peak.

Continuing to the Laguna Mountains, he found the higher elevations as patchy.  Palomar Mountain and Julian are also patchy.  Scott plans to visit them again next Friday and promises another report with photos.

Scott’s photographs of the hazy air hanging over Hot Springs Mountain on an Indian reservation made me wonder how Indian summer got its name.  The answer may not be what you think it is.

What appears to be a well-researched report in The Mountain Eagle says the condition of dry, hazy weather in October and early November dates back to the 18th century in the United States.

Some believe the term evolved from the fact that native Americans would hunt then, as it was Indians practice to burn off underbrush for easier collection of acorns, a vital source of nourishment, accentuating the hazy and smoky atmosphere.  The open forest also made it easier to hunt animals.

The Mountain Eagle said there’s an entirely different explanation, that has nothing to do with native Americans.  During the 1800s, clipper ships were able to carry the heaviest when crossing the Indian Ocean during “Indian Summer,” as it was the fairest season of the year.  To maximize what they could carry in their holds, the sailing ships would even mark “I.S.” on their hulls as the maximum load level thought safe to sail the Indian Ocean during Indian Summer.

Whatever the origin of  the term, it is a pleasant time of year spent, most pleasantly, outdoors enjoying fall color.

Lake Gregory Cleans Up Good

Mon ,20/10/2014
Lake Gregory Water Slides (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory Water Slides (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Volunteers cleaned up Lake Gregory's shoreline this past weekend (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Volunteers cleaned up Lake Gregory’s shoreline this past weekend (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

We received a comment from Cindy, a color spotter, that she was disappointed with the color to be seen at Lake Gregory this past weekend, reporting that it didn’t match the rest of the San  Bernardino Mountain’s peak billing.

So, we investigated, communicating with Michelle Fox at Lake Gregory who provides these photos.  A group of local volunteers were at the lake doing a volunteer, end-of-summer,  shore cleanup when Michelle photographed the scene.  Bravo to all those who volunteered their Sunday to keep Lake Gregory pristine.

Michelle agrees that the color will continue to develop (weather permitting), whereas other areas of the San Bernardino mountains have been shown as peaking, perhaps because Lake Gregory is one of the lower elevations in the mountains.  Still, it’s a beautiful place with delicate color.

Lake Gregory (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – Oaks and other deciduous trees surrounding the lake have been slowly developing their color since first reported on Oct. 5.  Unlike higher elevations in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Gregory has not neared peak and will continue to develop color in coming weeks.

Lake Hemet (Just Starting – 0 – 10%) – A report from Lake Hemet states that little color has yet developed in the San Jacinto Mountains.  On the basis of that report, we’ve downgraded the San Jacintos and ranges to the south, to Just Starting. Reports and photos from the San Jacintos, Mt. Laguna, Julian and Mt. Palomar are appreciated.

Temecula/Mt. Laguna/Lake Hemet – Vintage Color

Wed ,30/10/2013
Temecula Wine Country (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

Temecula Wine Country (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

Color spotter Brian Reilly took these beautiful images at Thornton Winery on the Rancho California Road in Temecula.  This Southern California wine growing region is showing about 50% color.

Old vines make great wine, Temecula (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

Old vines make great wine, Temecula (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

Dessicated grapes, beyond late harvest, Temecula (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

Desicated grapes, beyond late harvest; Temecula (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

30 – 50% – Temecula Wine Country – The vineyards are getting close to peaking and considering the color now visible, we’d have no problem suggesting you GO NOW!, though we expect the color to continue to develop for the next couple of weeks.

San Diego County

So. Calif. color spotter Son H Nguyen reports, “There is not much in Julian, right now,” aside from exotic “Chinese pistache starting to turn in town. There is not much on Pine Hill and it”s around 30-50%.  However, Mt. Laguna is blazing, right now. So many black oak trees, the whole area is near peak.”

30 – 50% – Julian – Best at Pine Hill.

Oaks, Mt Laguna (10/27/13) Son H Nguyen

Black oaks, Mt Laguna (10/27/13) Son H Nguyen

Black oaks, Mt Laguna (10/27/13) Son H Nguyen

Black oaks, Mt Laguna (10/27/13) Son H Nguyen

Black Oak, Mt Laguna (10/27/13) Son H Nguyen

Black oak, Mt Laguna (10/27/13) Son H Nguyen

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Mt. Laguna – Full peak at oak woodlands on Mt. Laguna in eastern San Diego County.

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – San Jacinto Mountains – Color spotter Anissa Granados from Lake Hemet Campgrounds sends this photo of cottonwood approaching peak at Lake Hemet.  Anissa says the trees ringing the lake and campgrounds provide a lovely setting to be surrounded by fall color.

Lake Hemet Campgrounds (10/29/13) Anissa Granados

Lake Hemet Campgrounds (10/29/13) Anissa Granados