Two For One – Spring and Fall!

Indian Paintbrush, Rock Creek, Mono County - Alicia Vennos (9/11/2011)


California not only has the longest and most varied autumn in the USA, but it also has a six-month spring… er, should we correct that to read seventh-month spring?  As, California Fall Color spotter Alicia Vennos of Mono County called today to report that she saw the first signs of fall color… Wildflowers AND fall colors?!

“Looks like this rare overlap just might be in store this season in Mono County!” she reported, “Yesterday at Rock Creek’s popular Little Lakes Basin trail, the Indian Paintbrush was still in vibrant bloom, along with purple Fireweed, Lupine, Columbine and creek beds full of tiny yellow flowers, the name of which escapes me.  At the same time, the underbrush is starting to turn deep crimson, and some meadows are already going for gold, although the grass along the lakeshores is still spring-time green!  Aspen leaves are also a healthy summer green but temps  yesterday were chilly at times, and there was a mix of sunshine, rain — and yes, snow as low as Rock Creek Lake.  It will be interesting to see if the wildflowers are tenacious enough ,and the fall colors eager enough, that the two might co-exist together for a stretch this year!   P.S.  May I just say that the fresh blackberry/loganberry pie was unbelievable at Pie in the Sky, everyone’s favorite après-hike pit stop at Rock Creek Lake Resort…wow!”

Carolyn Webb, also from Mono County, reports that the first splashes of yellow are beginning to appear in the Virginia Lakes area.  That means the full start of color change is likely still two weeks away at the highest elevations.

The same reason you can see fall color for three full months in California is the same reason wildflowers can bloom for up to seven months, here… elevation change.  Actually, wildflowers bloom in winter in the deserts, so – what the heck – we might as well call it a twelve-month spring.

Here’s our first report of 2011!

0 – 15% – Eastern Sierra above 9,000 ft beginning to show some yellow among the Aspen.  Look to the ground, as ground covers are turning red while wildflowers continue to bloom.

2 replies
  1. Sandy Steinman says:

    How about Winter and Spring. I just got back from Lassen National Park. Not much color yet,. There are still Fawn Lilies blooming next to snow. Patches of snow here and there, still lots of flowers and a great thunder storm. Did see some bits of fall color at Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park, Berkeley and the grape vines in front of my house are starting to turn. Looking forward to following fall color on your site.

    • John Poimiroo says:

      Thanks, Sandy. Send us reports of what you see and we’ll gladly include them. We don’t get many reports on interesting places like Tilden Park and would love hearing from you.

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