Glory Continues along 299, 101 and 99

Here’s a followup report on CA-299, on visiting Redwood National and State Parks and a drive along CA-99 from Red Bluff south to Sacramento.

75 – 100% — CA-299

This route, between Redding and Arcata, is now peaking.  The colors to be seen along the route are the best I’ve ever seen along this route and should remain good until at least Sunday, when rain is predicted.

CA-299 Roadside Bigleaf Maple (11/3/10) - John Poimiroo

Bigleaf maple are absolutely iridescent, glowing phosphorescent yellow to yellow-orange.  There’s lots of chartreuse in the mixed oak, maple, fir, pine and hardwood forests along the Trinity River. Wild cucumber (poisonous) drape oaks in muted shades of yellow-orange to chartreuse, though have lovely heart-shaped leaves that provide a dappled beauty.

CA-299 Berry Summit (11/5/10) - John Poimiroo

The best viewing areas are from Whiskeytown Lake NRA west to Weaverville, then again from the Salyer Rest Area west to Berry Summit.  If you stop at the Salyer rest area, enjoy taking a short walk in the hardwood forest on a hillside behind the rest area.  Levels of colorful lime to yellow leaves provide a zen atmosphere to the naturally landscaped scene.

CA-299 Near Hoopa (11/5/10) - John Poimiroo

At points along the route, clusters of bold yellow maple provide stunning contast to the subtle oranges of the oaks that climb high up to mountain crests.  The subtlety of color here is special… quite different from the bold colors of the Eastern Sierra, but still lovely.  At times, it’s hard to keep the car on the road, the colors are so beautiful.  These photos, sadly, do not do it justice, though click on any of them to get a better rendering of what I saw.  They’ll blow up and show the color more clearly.  And, to learn more about visiting the area, CLICK HERE.

15-30% – Redwood National and State Parks

I drove 299, then US 101 to Redwood National and State Parks.  The color change in the national park is disappointing, though occasional maple are colorful.

Roosevelt Elk Play Fighting at Elk Meadow (11/5/10) - John Poimiroo

Roosevelt Elk, Redwood National and State Parks (11/5/10) - John Poimiroo

What didn’t disappoint were the Roosevelt Elk.  Locals report that the annual elk rut was especially violent this year with several cars rammed by the aroused elk.

The rut has mostly ended, though I caught these boys play fighting beneath a beautiful tree at Elk Meadow Cabins, one of the best places to see the elk, dependably.

Morning at Elk Meadow Cabins (11/4/10) - John Poimiroo

The past two mornings, I awoke at Elk Meadow Cabins to find the local herd of some 30 Roosevelt Elk, including cows and bulls grazing around the cabins.

An elk cow considers crossing (11/5/10) - John Poimiroo

I used an 18 – 200mm lens and these shots varied in focal length from 60 to 200mm.  It is advised to approach the elk only so close that they do not react to you, any further and you place stress upon them.

CLICK HERE to learn more about seeing the elk.

15-30% – CA-99 Red Bluff to Marysville

Sacred Stones in a Walnut Orchard (11/5/10) - John Poimiroo

On my return from Redding, I decided to drive down CA-99 to see if walnut and prune orchards were changing.  In keeping with what we’re seeing throughout California this year, the color change is late in the orchards, just as it was in the Eastern Sierra.  That means orchards in the northern Central Valley of California should be turning through mid November… a wonderful visual treat for anyone in search of late fall color.

A stop at Vina (north of Chico) included a visit to the Abbey of New Clairvaux, where the sacred stones of an 800-year-old Cistercian monestary are being erected.  This project is considered to be the most important contemporary reconstruction of a historic stone building, anywhere on Earth.  When completed, the Gothic interior of the Abbey’s ancient Chapter House will be the most complete and significant example of Gothic architecture in the Western Hemisphere.

Ancient gothic arches are rising inside a building at the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina (11/5/10) - John Poimiroo

Visitors to the Abbey of New Clairvaux have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a true Gothic structure being rebuilt.  So, I urge anyone who appreciates architecture to make a trip to Vina now to see the abbey’s chapter house being rebuilt, before it’s finished.  CLICK HERE to read more about the sacred stones.

We received these other reports from Leilani one of our color spotters from the Shasta-Cascade Wonderland Association:

Butte County

Butte County’s trees are continuing to give quite a show.   The leaves are still on the trees and the color change is now at 70%, more in the higher elevations of the Paradise/Magalia area.  Pentz and Bille Road areas are spectacular as well. Colors will continue to intensify over the next few weeks and then should peak.

Shasta County

North Valley towns

Fall colors are vibrant now.  Brilliant reds, oranges and yellows are splashed across the valley floor pallet.  The ornamentals are showing at about 80%, while the willows, liquid amber and birch that turn such a beautiful yellow are past peak and in the process of losing their leaves.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area:

The colors around Whiskeytown have increased to about 50%.  The Chinese pistachios and liquid amber are beautifully framing the lake.  With consistent cold weather and rain coming the colors will intensify and peak quickly now.

Burney Falls State Park:

Colors are great up at Burney Falls.  It’s a good time for a drive, since the California State Park ranger says the colors are at peak but with a good wind, they will be gone.  Don’t miss this spectacular area.

Tehama County

Lassen Park:

Colors are in full swing in the park.  Aspen, cottonwood & willows still have good color but are peaking now.

Lassen County

Lassen National Forest:

There is noticeable change throughout the forest.  Colors are in post-peak but still beautiful and dramatic.  Time for a day trip!

Modoc County

Modoc National Forest

There is snow in the higher elevations so the fall colors in past peak now.

Siskiyou County

More vibrant colors have appeared this past week around the Mt. Shasta area, peaking in the higher elevations.

Trinity County

There is still some color to be seen around the Hwy.3 loop but most of the trees in the county are past peak.

Plumas County

Trees in Plumas County are at peak.  The oaks have turned an incredible orange.  The aspen and dogwood are also spectacular.  The areas around the Feather River Canyon, Cromburg, Indian Valley and Antelope Lake are worth a trip.

CLICK HERE for more about visiting the Shasta Cascade.