Eastern Sierra Spectacle

This past week, I’ve been in South Florida.  With the time zone difference, work obligations here and difficulty picking up photos on my laptop, I’ve been remiss in not forwarding the great reports received from color spotters, though I did spot a burgundy Swamp Maple seen while canoeing the Turner River through the Big Cypress National Preserve.  Yes, the maples turn color in South Florida in October.

While I was exploring South Florida and the Keys, photographer Rob Bohning sent some of his truly spectacular shots taken last weekend in the Eastern Sierra.  I plan to post more of them after returning to my office, this weekend.  And, just posted (see below) is a report from Ben Carlson of Friends of the Urban Forest in San Francisco on the appearance of yellow among the gingkos of SF.

Unfortunately, the weather outlook is stormy for the weekend and early next week.  That could damage color.  I say “could” because many times in past years, a storm has passed through with only moderate effect.  It really depends on how many of the leaves are green when the storm occurs.

I suspect, however, that the beautiful color above 8,000 ft (reported by Parchers Resort below and to be shown in Rob’s great photos – to come, I promise) will be gone by Wednesday of the coming week.  Meaning that between 7,000 and 8,000 fall color will be reduced greatly.  Of course, that’s just a prediction and much can change.  We’ll just have to wait until next week to hear what California’s Fall Color spotters report.

Here’s what Jared Smith and the folks at Parchers Resort reported this past week: The fall color above the 9000ft level is waning but there are still plenty of spots that are amazing at that elevation. The highlight of the canyon right now though is the foliage between the 8000ft and 9000ft level which is simply spectacular. There is a lot of yellow, orange and some red showing, especially along South Lake Road. This will be our last fall color report of the season now that Parchers Resort is closed for the winter but weather permitting, there will be a few weeks more of gorgeous fall color in the Bishop Creek area.

All Photographs Copyright 2010 by Jared Smith, www.SmithSierraPhotography.com or courtesy of Parchers Resort staffer Krisdina Karady.

Aspen - Table Mountain (10/19/10) - Jared Smith

Table Mountain Campground – Elevation 8900ft

Past Peak – But still awesome!  Even though there are some trees shedding their leaves, there are a lot of trees just now coming into full color. There are some amazing views here still.

Mountain Glen (10/19/10) - Jared Smith

Mountain Glen Campground

75-100% – This spot is simply breathtaking right now with a great mix of yellow, orange, red and green. Huge trees add to the grandeur of these groves.

The Famous Mist Falls on South Fork Bishop Creek

75-100% – It’s go time for photographers wanting to capture one of the most spectacular landmarks in the Bishop Creek Canyon. Vibrant yellow surrounds the waterfall on all sides – quite a sight to behold.

Four Jeffrey Camp Groves

75-100% – This is a pretty large area along the So. Fork Bishop creek so while some of the aspen is in full color, including some spectacular patches of red above the campground, other sections have green still showing. Great opportunity for color sighting and photographing here right now.

Willow Camp – Elevation 9065 ft

Past Peak – But still awesome! The best has come and gone near Willow but there are still plenty of trees in full color right now, especially right above the campground and along the old road between Parchers & Willow camp. This area is really hanging tough as far as color goes.

South Lake – Elevation 9768 ft

Past Peak

Weir Pond – Elevation 9592 ft

Past Peak – Beautiful aspens can still be found along the pond but the best views are over. Still worth a stop if you’re in the canyon though.

Parchers Camp – Elevation 9260 ft

Past Peak – The hills to the south, west and east are past peak but the aspens down stream towards Willow Camp are spectacular, as is the color on the hill due north of the resort.

North Lake – Elevation 9255ft

No Report

Lake Sabrina – Elevation 9150 ft

No Report

Sabrina Camp Groves – Elevation 9000 ft

Past Peak – The Sabrina camp grove is a goner for this season.

Surveyor’s Meadow

Past Peak –  A few great spots of color, but it’s fading about as fast as the color is popping lower in the canyon.

Aspendell – 8500ft

75-100% – The higher elevation aspens are gone now but the lower groves near the creek are beginning to look amazing. Still some time yet before it peaks but it’s a great view right now.

Our sincere thanks to Jared and his staff for doing such a great job looking for and reporting fall color in Inyo County.  They always do a superb job at it and there’s still lots of color to be seen.  One suggestion is to head there today to see and photograph snow as it begins to land on the hot colors still showing in Inyo County above 7,000 ft.