Entries by John Poimiroo


Backroad Soliloquy

California’s mid-19th-century gold rush towns are links in a golden chain of backroads that wind through the fabled Mother Lode. I explored a few of them today, in search of fall color and impressions. The byways rise, twist and drop alongside creeks and rivers that spill out of the western Sierra. The drainages are presently […]


Danville’s Urban Forest

Danville loves its trees. The East Bay town’s symbol is its 350-year-old Danville Oak. Each year in November, the Town gathers on Diablo Road at the base of the tree to celebrate the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The ceremony is a festive evening that includes a visit from Father Christmas and the Snow Angel escorted […]

Paradise Lost

Today, the San Francisco Chronicle looks back at the Camp Fire (a year ago) and its legacy, republishing an article I wrote early this year. Paradise has still not fully recovered; it will never truly be the same as it was, though its heart beats strong. Wildfire has and is changing tourism in our state, […]


Freeman’s Maple on Fire

Freeman’s maple, Acer fremanii, is on fire at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, reports Frank McDonough. Known as Jeffersred (cultivar) or Autumn Blaze (trade name), this fast-growing hybrid maple was crossed between red maple, Acer rubrum (midwest), and silver maple, Acer saccharinum (Eastern). It’s a popular choice in urban forests across California due […]


Ripe as an Apple

Apple Hill is as ripe for fall color as its apples are for picking. A visit to Camino in El Dorado County was stuffed full of tasty images, as delicious as one of their apple pies or wines. Apple Hill, Camino ( ) — Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.

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Classic Camping

An Indian Summer is extending the camping and fall color seasons in the San Jacinto Mountains where, at Lake Hemet, the days have been warm, the nights cool, and classic trailers even cooler. Jeff Brown reports from Lake Hemet Campgrounds that wildlife viewing (bald eagles), fishing (rainbow trout) and fall color spotting (cottonwood, black oak) […]

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Napa’s Vintage

Clear blue skies and vintage autumn color are being seen throughout the Napa Valley, making it Peak of the Week. Gone are the hazy days delivered by October’s Kincade Fire, as wine country has been transformed back into a beautiful drive, bike ride or stroll. Charles Hooker of Napa was out for a bike ride […]


Dried Grapes

California wild grape, Vitis californica, were at peak a year ago this week. So, as I passed through Cameron Park, I stopped, expecting to find them full of color. They were, but not as I’d have preferred to see them. So, I continued east on US 50, the Lincoln Highway (America’s first transcontinental highway) to […]


Lake Arrowhead – Not? Hot!

Lake Arrowhead is defying expectations. By now, it was supposed to be not. Instead, it’s still hot. Black oak are still carrying deep orange color in the San Bernardino Mountains surrounding Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory, as seen in these snaps sent in by Alena Nicholas. Lake Arrowhead (5,174′) — Peak to Past Peak — […]

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Goin’ to Jackson

Johnny Cash and June Carter would surely be “talkin’ ’bout Jackson,” ’cause the fire there’s not gone out. Black oak at Jackson Lake in the Angeles National Forest are aflame with color. Lance Pifer visited Jackson Lake this past weekend, to find the Wrightwood/Valyermo areas displaying bright yellow and deep orange leaves. Lance went for […]