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A Cornucopia of Color

Liquidambar, Oak Glen (11/18/19) Alena Nicholas

Oak Glen is displaying a cornucopia of color.

Though the San Bernardino Mountains apple-growing area is at an elevation of 4,734′, fall color still looks good and should stay at peak until Thanksgiving Day, SoCal color spotter Alena Nicholas estimates.

She was there on Monday taking pictures and being interviewed by Spectrum News for Californiafallcolor.com.

Oak Glen (11/18/19) Alena Nicholas

Alena reports that Oak Glen’s ponds, woods and orchards are still full of bright color. Deer have settled into the orchards as they wait for the inevitable apple to fall from an upper branch.

Oak Glen was California’s first apple harvest destination. Its farms and shops are famous for their homebaked apple pastries, nature trails, handmade gifts, harvest atmosphere, honest family fun and fresh-pressed cider.

And yes, there’s still time to order a ready-to-bake apple pie before Thanksgiving Day.

  • Oak Glen (4,734′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.
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Angelic San Gabriel

Bigleaf maple, San Gabriel River Trail (11/17/19) Steve Shinn

Liturgy describes St. Gabriel (San Gabriel in Spanish) as the archangel of judgment. If so, then color spotter Steve Shinn judges the West Fork of the San Gabriel River as absolutely angelic.

Steve volunteers for the U.S. Forest Service, capturing the beauty of San Gabriel National Forest and people enjoying it. As such, he visits the area regularly and writes he would vote the West Fork of the San Gabriel River, which connects CA-39 above Azusa, as one of the most beautiful spots in the San Gabriel Mountains.

  • W. Fork San Gabriel River – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW or YOU MISSED IT.

Tech Boom

Gingko biloba, Mountain View (11/17/19) Vishal Mishra

Palo Alto and Mountain View on the San Francisco Peninsula are experiencing another boom … the fall color kind.

Landmark gingko biloba and Liquidambar are carpeting Mountain View neighborhoods with yellow and pink leaves and Palo Alto is aglow at dusk with orange.

  • San Francisco Peninsula (30′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Sherwood Forest Peaks

Lake Sherwood, Ventura County (11/17/19) Kathy Jonokuchi

Peak color is being seen at Sherwood Forest, surrounding Lake Sherwood near Westlake Village, not Nottingham, England.

Nonetheless, this is truly where Robin Hood and his merry men once lived. Wayne Gretzky also lived there. Lake Sherwood was so named because two films starring Errol Flynn were partly filmed there in 1922 and 1938. A community eventually formed around the lake.

Southern California color spotter Kathy Jonokuchi was among Audubon Society birders who were invited to visit the exclusive neighborhood to observe over 60 species of wintering birds there. Click to enlarge.

Ringing Lake Sherwood, she found Western sycamore, cottonwood and valley oak, not the Sheriff of Nottingham’s men.

Western sycamore, Lake Sherwood (11/17/19) Kathy Jonokuchi
  • Lake Sherwood, Westlake Village (879′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Because this is a private community, you can’t actually go now. The closest similar fall color would likely be seen surrounding Malibu Lake.
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Leaf Sunday

English oak, University Arboretum, CSU Sacramento (11/17/19) John Poimiroo

Everyone ought to have a leaf Sunday.

It’s a Sunday drive just to see peaking leaves. Mine was spent on a route I’ve taken many times with stops in El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Fair Oaks and Sacramento.

Brown’s Ravine, Folsom Lake SRA, El Dorado Hills (11/17/19) John Poimiroo
Mormon Island Wetlands Reserve, Folsom (11/17/19) John Poimiroo

El Dorado Hills has trees yet to turn, but more than half have dropped leaves, so it’s between peak and past peak. Fremont cottonwood and Toyon are nearing the end of their peak at Folsom Lake SRA; and landmark Fremont cottonwood at Mormon Island Wetlands are at peak and crowed with bright yellow.

Fair Oaks Park is nearing the end of peak. The approaching storm is likely to remove whatever color is still hanging, and the village’s chickens seemed to know a storm is approaching, as they were crowing anxiously.

The University Arboretum was mostly past peak, though lovers didn’t mind. They sat on benches in quiet corners of the arboretum, ignoring arguments between squirrels, as they whispered to one another and kissed.

Fabulous Forties, Sacramento (11/17/19) John Poimiroo

Along the Fabulous Forties in east Sacramento (avenues numbered in the 40s), large dumps of leaves from towering London plane trees planted near the curbs have littered the avenues. Owners of these stately homes are out each weekend, blowing, raking and sweeping the detritus into piles to be hauled away by city workers.

Holly and her daughter blow leaves into a pile (11/17/19) John Poimiroo

I happened upon Holly and her daughter who were rushing to blow a week’s fall of folioles, so that party guests would have room to park along the curb that night.

There was autumn in the air in downtown Sacramento. Couples dressed in sweatshirts and light sweaters, even though temps were in the low 70s.

The constant fall of leaves from the city’s canopy of color (see “Rollin’ Thru SacTown” posted earlier today), makes Sacramento seem like it should be colder than it is. Perhaps that will change this week, as snow in the Sierra is predicted.

William Land Park, Sacramento (11/17/19) John Poimiroo

Leaf-dressed picnics, touch football, golf and Sunday strolls were happening at William Land Park, and I closed my Leaf Sunday Drive stopping at the Freeport Bakery to purchase a couple of … what else? Leaf Cookies.

Leaf Cookies, Freeport Bakery, Sacramento (11/17/19) John Poimiroo
  • El Dorado Hills (768′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.
  • Mormon Island Wetlands Reserve (372′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Folsom (220′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.
  • Fair Oaks (174′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • CSU Arboretum – Sacramento (30′) – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT.
  • Fabulous Forties – Sacramento (30′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Downtown – Sacramento (30′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • William Land Park – Sacramento (30′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Peak in Lodi Again

John Fogerty said he never actually visited Lodi when he wrote the classic line, “Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.”

Had he, Fogerty would have learned that Lodi has 85+ wineries covering 100,000+ acres (most in California), nearby wildlife refuges full of Sandhill Cranes, egrets and heron, an annual Fall Color Paddle on the Mokelumne River (Sat., Nov. 23), and loads of fall color.

So, if you’re “lookin’ for a pot of gold,” as Fogerty was, there are few places in the state where autumn gold is more easily found right now, than in Lodi … again.

Photos courtesy VisitLodi.

  • Lodi (35′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Rollin’ Thru SacTown

Here’s how Niven Le rolls.

  • Video: GoPro
  • Music: Avicil – The Days; Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand
  • Sacramento (30′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Dunsmuir Denouement

Dunsmuir (11/15/19) Philip Reedy

It’s done in Dunsmuir, though Philip Reedy still managed to find some color at 1,800′ along the Upper Sacramento River.

A few Indian rhubarb and black oak are holding yellow and orange leaves, though most have fallen.

  • Dunsmuir (2,290′) – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT.
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Fullerton Honey

Honey Locust, Fullerton Arboretum (11/15/19) Mark Hanning-Lee

Mark Hanning-Lee scores a first report for visiting the Fullerton Arboretum at Cal State Fullerton where he found ripe orange persimmons and Honey Locust dripping with golden color.

Mark was disappointed at the abundance of evergreens in the arboretum, though a scan through its Interactive Map, shows that there are a few deciduous varieties (e.g., Asian maple, Black alder). You just have to know what they are and when they’re peaking.

Wonderful pomegranate, Fullerton Arboretum (11/15/19) Mark Hanning-Lee

He found muted color on Wonderful Pomegranate and on two Green Ash and estimates the arboretum’s experimental apple orchard may peak later this month.

Remember, this is Orange County where peak occurs late in autumn.

  • Fullerton Arboretum (164′) – Near Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Beaver Moon Lights Lassen

Beaver Moon, Lassen Volcanic NP (11/11/19) Shanda Ochs

On the night before this year’s Beaver Moon (the November full moon), Shanda Ochs photographed it silhouetting trees at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Jepson Willow, Cliff Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (11/11/19) Shanda Ochs

Shanda reports this extended autumn has produced a number of surprises in the national park, including the beaver moon and an abundance of fall color at Cliff Lake (7,300′).

Normally, Manzanita Lake (5,900′) is the last area in Lassen Volcanic to carry fall color. Shanda opines that the late show may be due to that Cliff Lake sits in a basin, at the foot of Reading Peak, that is relatively protected from wind.

All the foliage there was at peak color and is likely to last due to the mild conditions (no wind, warm days and cool nights).

Jepson Willow, is likely to be the variety seen in her photographs, as it is the highest elevation willow native to Lassen Volcanic. Also common is Lemmons willow.

Presently, the national park’s grasses are displaying beautiful warm color.

  • Cliff Lake (7,300′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.

The November full moon has been called a Beaver Moon by native people for centuries. It indicates the time of year when beaver have retreated to their lodges, having stored food for winter.

Trappers quickly recognized the Beaver Moon as an ideal time to harvest beaver, as they would be lethargic in their lodges and wearing heavy winter pelts.

Native people identified full moons by harvest, catch, hunt, climate or cultural ceremony. Anglo-Saxons named some to mark religious periods (Paschal, Yule). A few overlap months, though the first citation is the most-used description (e.g., Wolf moon in Jan, though it’s also used in December). Source: timeanddate.com
  • January – Wolf moon (alt: Moon After Yule, Ice moon, Snow moon)
  • February – Snow moon (Hunger moon, Chaste moon)
  • March – Worm moon (Crow moon, Crust moon, Sap moon, Chaste moon, Lenten moon)
  • April – Pink moon (Sprouting grass moon, Fish moon, Hare moon, Egg moon, Paschal moon)
  • May – Flower moon (Corn planting moon, Milk moon)
  • June – Strawberry moon (Hot moon, Mead moon, Rose moon)
  • July – Buck moon (Thunder moon, Wort moon, Hay moon)
  • August – Sturgeon moon (Green corn moon, Barley moon, Fruit moon, Grain moon)
  • September/October – Harvest moon (full moon closest to autumnal equinox)
  • September – Corn moon (Full corn moon, Barley moon)
  • October – Hunter’s moon (Dying grass moon, Blood or Sanguine moon – not to be confused with the Blood moon marking a total lunar eclipse)
  • November – Beaver moon (Frosty moon, Oak moon, Mourning moon)
  • December – Cold moon (Oak moon, Moon Before Yule, Wolf moon)