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Engine 28, Sierra Railroad, Jamestown (11/13/21) Steve Arita

Signs of the transition from autumn to winter are appearing increasingly. Near Jamestown, Steve Arita found the Sierra Railroad to be readying Engine #28 to portray the Polar Express during holiday excursions, as shops throughout the Gold Country shift from autumn displays to holiday ones.

Black cottonwood, Sierra Railroad, Jamestown (11/13/21) Steve Arita

Engine 28, Sierra Railroad, Jamestown (11/13/21) Steve Arita

Sierra Railroad, Jamestown (11/13/21) Steve Arita










As this transition has been occurring, heavy fog has blanketed the Central Valley. This is common in December, though its early mid-November arrival has dampened fall color viewing and instantly discouraged travel to Central Valley wildlife refuges and orchards.

When the fog settles in, color spotters escape the fog by heading up into the Sierra foothills where it’s more certain to be sunny and vibrant. Steve found that to be so, but also that autumn is now nearly Past Peak in the foothills. In Sutter Creek, the blood red branches of a tall liquidambar frame the Methodist church, though few other signs of peak color are seen.

That’s common within the golden chain of Gold Rush towns along Highway 49. About the only gold left to be found is on their Black cottonwood trees.

Liquidambar, Sutter Creek United Methodist Church (11/13/21) Steve Arita

  • Golden Chain Highway, CA-49 (1,188′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It.



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