Shasta Cascade – Fire and Ice (Hike of the Week)

Knotweed, Cliff Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/12/15) Shanda Ochs

Knotweed, Cliff Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/12/15) Shanda Ochs

Knotweed, Cliff Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/12/15) Shanda Ochs

Knotweed, Cliff Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/12/15) Shanda Ochs

This past week, a dusting of snow atop Lassen Peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park closed the park road, but that was short lived, as many of these early dustups tend to be in California.

Park Guide Shanda Ochs sends the above photo of firey red knotweed, photographed of the meadow on the trail northeast of Cliff Lake in the national park on Sept. 12.  She reported, “In the past, this color typically holds for quite some time before leaves fall off. I don’t know if this will be the case this year.”

Shanda notes, “It appears that the aspen lost leaves early due to the lack of water. There was a very short period that they were in full color, but lost the leaves quickly. I don’t think we will see the fall color that is typical year after year, based on the lack of water.”

The bright color have encouraged CaliforniaFallColor.com to name the Cliff Lake trail in Lassen Volcanic National Park as our first Hike of the Week in 2015.

Alder and Willow, Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/21/15) Shanda Ochs

Alder and willow, Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/21/15) Shanda Ochs

At Manzanita Lake, the willows beside the lake have turned chartreuse and orange-yellow, though among the alder there is no “stand out color yet, and we may not see that either because of the lack of water.”  Shanda notes, “But we still have time there. ”

Bigleaf maple, Plumas County (9/20/15) Jeff Titcomb

Bigleaf maple, Plumas County (9/20/15) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood, Plumas County (9/20/15) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood, Plumas County (9/20/15) Jeff Titcomb

In Plumas County, color spotters Lisa May and Jeff Titcomb reports that bigleaf maple “are just barely getting into color change, but again dry weather is causing browning and falling leaves before they have the chance to change color.” Jeff predicts there will be weeks more of color in the beautiful Indian Valley. About 25% of the dogwood have begun to color their trademark rose to red tones.

Patchy (10-50%) – Lassen Volcanic National Park – Drought has shortened the show among some aspen that have begun to turn, though most of the forest has not and should turn on schedule. Lassen Volcanic NP is one location where looking down is recommended to see fall color juxtaposed to dramatic grand landscapes in the distance, as seen in Shanda’s photographs.

Patchy (10-50%) – Round Valley, Plumas County – About a quarter of the bigleaf maple at the Round Valley Reservoir near Greenville have begun to turn.  Some of the big leaves are drying quickly, once they turn. Similarly, dogwood are showing their rosy blush.

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