What A Difference Three Days Makes

Crab Park, Eel River, Loleta (9/28/15) Crys Black

Three days ago, Mendocino County color spotter Crys Black had decided to report fall color as Just Starting north of Willits on U.S. 101, but when she drove The Redwood Highway this morning, “the color was beautiful and I have to bump it up to 10-50% with the best location just north of Willits.”

Oriole in Yarrow, Crab Park, Eel River, Loleta (9/28/15) Crys Black

Crys says Mendocino County received two inches of rain recently, nourishing beautiful orange, yellow, “even some purple… wildflowers.”

The fall color along 101 is Patchy, with a lot of yellow and some oranges and reds. Most of the yellow comes from bigleaf maple, the orange from alder, chartreuse from climbing wild cucumber and splashes of red from poison oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum.

There is no poison in poison oak. What creates its irritating, painful rash is contact with urushiol oil, a potent allergen found on the plant’s leaves. Unfortunately for those affected, poison oak is California’s most prevalent woody shrub. That prevalence, for those of us who appreciate red fall color, has the positive aspect of brightening woodlands with crimson in autumn.

U.S. 101 North of Willits (9/28/15) Crys Black

U.S. 101 North of Willits (9/28/15) Crys Black

U.S. 101 North of Willits (9/28/15) Crys Black

U.S. 101 North of Willits (9/28/15) Crys Black

Crys says the vines are showing pretty color around Asti and Geyserville, though it’s Just Starting.  Crush arrived early this year, though fall color will develop as in previous years.

Donna Hufford a color spotter at Elk Meadow Cabins in Orick reports that alder and bigleaf maple beside U.S. 101, north of Orick, are now coloring Redwood National and State Parks with bright patches of orange and yellow.  Roosevelt Elk bulls, the largest in North America, are in full rut as they trumpet and fight one another for mating rights to harems of elk cows.

Just Starting (0-10%) – North Coast Vineyards

Patchy (10-50%) – U.S. 101 – Willits to Klamath 

Just Starting (0-10%) – U.S. 101 – Klamath to Crescent City

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