Fire in the Wind

Black Cottonwood and Lichen, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/8/17) Shanda Ochs

Knotweed, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/7/17) Shanda Ochs

Pearly Everlasting (10/8/17) Shanda Ochs

There was fire in the wind yesterday. High winds blew wildfire to a tragic end across Sonoma and Napa Counties, while also stripping fiery leaves from their branches.

That happened in Lassen Volcanic National Park (northeast California) as reported by Shanda Ochs, a park guide, who says, “most of the color is at peak” or just Past Peak.

Of course, this is a national park, so there are quite a number of colorful native varieties to be enjoyed: knotweed (crimson), pearly everlastings (vanilla), Lichen (chartreuse), willows (brassy), alder (yellow), dogwood (rose), black cottonwood (gold) and quaking aspen (yellow to red).


Of those, the cottonwood and aspen are Near Peak, with one to three weeks of peak still to go.

The rest are Past Peak.

As for the wind, it only blew “turned” leaves from the trees. Trees whose leaves were in the process of turning still have their leaves, and because so much of California’s autumn has been staggered, the show will go on for weeks ahead.

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/8/17) Shanda Ochs

One of the prime areas to still see the show in the national park is at Manzanita Lake, where Lassen Peak reflections are seen. This is particularly nice at sunset, when the volcano is lit with alpenglow. Several of these shots were taken along the park road near Dersch Meadow, Hat Creek Meadow and Summit Lake, near 7000′.

When he saw peak color, seasoned color spotter Cory Poole had the presence of mind to snap a shot with his cell phone of a “Lovely little grove of aspens growing next to an old lava flow, at the intersection of CA-44 and CA-89, just south of Old Station.

Lassen Volcanic National Park (8,500′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! to Past Peak (You Missed It.)

Aspen, CA-44 and CA-89 (10/9/17) Cory Poole