Whoomp, There It Is!

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The first leaf of autumn, Mono County (9/10/19) Jeff Simpson

Whoomp, there it is! The first leaf of autumn has been posted officially by Mono County color spotter Jeff Simpson.

Jeff said it was 24 degrees Fahrenheit in Bridgeport (the county seat) yesterday morning, causing him to leave the office and tour Rock Creek, Sagehen Summit and the Virginia Lakes in search of fall color.

He found mostly green to lime-colored coverage, though a few bright spots of yellow and orange aspen and golden willows were seen on his brief tour.

Jeff estimates that substantive change will appear near 10,000 feet near Rock Creek Lake in the coming week with areas between 9,000 and 10,400′ in elevation as the first to be worthy of “filling the card.”

Now, how does this compare to previous years?

At this time last year we were reporting about the same amount of color change … very little.

We had received reports of willows, ferns and shrubs turning golden, similar to what we reported last week. As, ground covers are the first to change their autumn colors.

So far, this autumn seems to be right on schedule, but then California is – if anything – consistent about its display of fall color. Here’s what Jeff found:

Virginia Lakes (9,819’) – Just Starting (0-10%) A few leaves have begun to turn yellow. It’s still very early with almost foliage dressed in green or lime.

Sagehen Summit (8,139’) – Just Starting (0-10%) Saghehen is still mostly green and lime. This location is often one of the first to reach full peak in Mono County. Jeff is predicting Near Peak and a GO NOW! designation within 7-10 days. 

Rock Creek Road (9,600’) – Just Starting (0-10%) Some yellow leaves are present around the lake level and in the upper elevations of Little Lakes Valley. Mostly green and lime green with another 5-7 days away from any real change.

At lower elevations in the Sierra, little to no fall color is yet visible. Color spotter Sylvia Wright drove Hwys 89, 88, 50 and 49 on a loop between Tahoe City and Auburn, finding zero color, “except for the bright new umbrellas at the Kirkwood Inn.”

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1 reply
  1. mike says:

    awesome! we plan to head up to bishop area next weekend. any chance we’ll see some fall colors? it will be our first time visiting the sierras


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