California Fall Color
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Posts Tagged ‘Mt. Palomar’

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!

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.

Indian Summer Across California

Mon ,05/11/2012

Hakone Gardens (11/4/12) Barbara Steinberg

Warm days (80s) have returned to California this week, though rain and snow are predicted for the coming weekend.  A return to warmer weather is actually just fine for sustained fall color, since warm days and cool nights intensify color.

Barbara Steinberg sends this lovely photograph of the Hakone Gardens in San Jose and Scott, a hiker who blogs at http://one-thousand-miles.blogspot.com/ reports orange and gold appearing among the black oak along the Observatory trail on Mt. Palomar in Southern California.

We were in West Hollywood, Los Angeles and Pasadena this past weekend and saw very little color change among the few deciduous trees evident, there.  Pleasant temperatures in the 70s and 80s will provide a much appreciated Indian Summer across California this week.