How Big is Big?

Bigleaf maple, Castle Crags (11/10/20) Philip Reedy

California, Alaska and Texas had an ongoing dispute about which was the largest. California claimed the most people, Alaska the most territory and Texas, the biggest egos. Texas won.

Well, when it comes to trees, California wins. Not only does it have the biggest trees (Most massive – Sequoiadendron gigantea and tallest – Sequoia sempervirens), but we also have the biggest maple leaves.

On a trip up I-5 today, Philip Reedy headed to Sims Bridge to get shots of fishing on the Upper Sacramento River with snow-capped Mt. Shasta in the background. On the way, he stopped at Castle Crags picnic area where “it was raining bigleaf maple leaves.”

He described them as big as dinner plates. To prove it, he took this picture. However, when he got home, Phil discovered he was wrong.

12″ bigleaf maple leaf, Castle Crags (11/10/20) Philip Reedy

Bigleaf maple leaves are bigger than dinner plates. Twelve inches to be exact. His dinner plates measure eleven inches.

Reedy’s first stop this morning was Castella, which he describes as, “best photographed in the early morning.  The freezing temps over the weekend had been hard on the Indian Rhubarb, but they still provided some color, and thee were beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves in the background across the river.  Light clouds above Castle Crags made for excellent photo opportunities as well.

Phil continued to Castle Crags where he found the bigleaf maple shower. “There is a spring at the picnic area, so perhaps there is something in the water.  I may have to try some,” he considered, though I’ll warn him not to drink too much. He’s about the right height, right now.

Mt Shasta (11/10/20) Philip Reedy

After framing Mt Shasta with orange leaves at the Mt. Shasta Resort’s golf course, he headed back down to Conant to an area “where the ground was totally covered in maple leaves, with nice views of Castle Crags in the distance.” He advises there’s color, but it’s disappearing fast.  

Fly fishing, Upper Sacramento River, Conant (11/10/20) Philip Reedy

At Sims, he worked on fly fishing photos from the bridge, with his subject positioning himself to fish, “just as there was a break in the clouds.”

Fly fishing, Upper Sacramento River, Sims Bridge (11/10/20) Philip Reedy

He was enthusiastic about getting the casting shot he’d envisioned last week, and found some unexpected scenes that made for one last set of fall color pictures from the area. 

Footbridge, Upper Sacramento River (11/10/20) Philip Reedy

Phil notes that “the bigleaf maple are shedding leaves rapidly and the Indian Rhubarb are dying back from freezing temps. All that’s left are the black oaks from Dunsmuir to Yreka that still look great,” even though their leaves are no where as big as dinner plates.

  • Castle Crags (1,800′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW You Almost Missed It.
  • Conant (1,890′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW You Almost Missed It.
  • Castella (1,900′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW You Almost Missed It.
  • Mossbrae Falls (2,529′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW You Almost Missed It.
  • Dunsmuir (2,290′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW You Almost Missed It.