,

Apple Hill – Ripe for Picking

Apple Hill (10/12/17) John Poimiroo

A detour on my return from Lake Tahoe, yesterday, included a stop at Apple Hill in Camino to take photos and – what else!? – buy an apple pie.

Newtown Rd., Placerville (10/12/17) John Poimiroo

Bigleaf maple (10/12/17) John Poimiroo

My route took me through Pleasant Valley (great wine tasting) down Newtown Rd. toward Placerville, US 50 and Camino.

Newtown is a lovely, winding road canopied by huge black oak and bigleaf maple, that now are speckled with huge bright yellow and lime-colored maple leaves.

At Camino, apples lay rotting between the trees at Boa Vista Orchards, as kids romped through a nearby pumpkin patch.

Similar to the experience at Julian in San Diego County, Apple Hill is more than a place to grow apples.

It is an annual harvest festival that continues from late summer to Christmas, with all kinds of homemade preserves, pies, baked goods, fresh fruit and produce on sale, along with handmade crafts and wine tasting at nearby Sierra Foothill wineries.

At this time of year, Apple Hill is wholesome fun and ripe for picking.

Apple Hill, Camino (3,133′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Newtown Road, Pleasant Valley – Patchy to Near Peak (10-75%) GO NOW!

, ,

Henness Pass – Ever Heard of It?

Henness Pass Rd. (10/7/17) Bridgett Locken

Henness Pass Rd. (10/7/17) Bridgett Locken

Aspen, Henness Pass Rd. (10/7/17) Bridgett Locken

Henness Pass Rd. (10/7/17) Bridgett Locken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sure hadn’t. Henness Pass Road travels east/west across the Northern Sierra, south of CA-49, roughly between Camptonville and Downieville, but slightly to the south.

As the lowest pass through the Sierra Nevada, you’d think everyone would drive it, but don’t expect to jump in your sedan for a leisurely Sunday drive, as only high clearance off-road vehicles can operate on it. This is wild country dotted with ranches, wildlife, spots of fall color and not much else.

Bridget and Bruce Locken traveled it on Saturday to score a First Report with these snapshots of the color to be seen in this remote area of California.

Henness Pass (6,920′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

,

Harlequin Color Pops at Jenkinson Lake

Black oak, Jenkinson Lake (10/8/17) Ahnalise Draper

Pacific Dogwood, Jenkinson Lake (10/8/17) Ahnalise Draper

Jenkinson Lake (10/8/17) Ahnalise Draper

Jenkinson Lake (10/8/17) Ahnalise Draper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenkinson Lake near Sly Park in the Gold Country (El Dorado County) gets this week’s pick for Harlequin color.

Ahnalise Draper was on her way to the Hope Valley when she decided to stop at Jenkinson Lake, northeast of Placerville and take an impromptu hike around the lake.

She wrote that the “Scenery did not disappoint. The southeast side of the lake is especially beautiful” though is on point by pointing out that “in line with the rest of the state, it is a patchy display. All the leaves are close to reaching their peak with the lime leaves of bright aspens and oak spotted with some red, yellow and pink that are ahead of the pack.”

She continued, “The southeast finger of the lake is narrow and the beautiful blues and teal of the water are contrasted by dark greens of pines and pops of bright yellow from the trees spotting the embankment, definitely the best part of the lake’s scenery.”

The varieties that dominate this area are pacific dogwood, black oak and bigleaf maple.

Jenkinson Lake, Sly Park (3,400′) – Patchy

Exotics Light Up Grass Valley

Exotic maple, Grass Valley (10/1/17) Robert Kermen

Non-native, landscaped maples are lighting up Grass Valley in hues of orange and salmon, Robert Kermen reports.

Fall color creds to whoever can ID this type of maple. Update: And Evelyn gets the creds, identifying the tree as Acer Rubrum (red maple), common to eastern and central North America.

 

Poetry Past Peak

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

There’s poetry in the progression of peak color. At least, when Darrell Sano describes it.

He traveled to Amador County and its Shenandoah Valley near Plymouth this past weekend to pick up a wine club order from one of its great wineries.

Tip: Put the Sierra Foothills wineries on your next wine tasting excursion, as the wineries of El Dorado and Amador Counties are exceptional and many provide tastings without charge.

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

Shenandoah Rd., Amador County (11/20/16) Darrell Sano

I had discouraged his optimism, stating I thought Darrell’s trip would be fruitless, other than for the wine tasting, as fall color in the Sierra Foothills was mostly past peak.

After seeing it, he agreed.  The Sierra Foothills are past peak, but countered, “like Napa and other wine regions, the leaves are still there, though more rustic, leathery, with an ochre-rust color. But these leaves past peak display texture, character, and perhaps a glimpse of time constantly in motion.

“The rains have now created areas of highly saturated grass, and the green grass against warm leaves is spectacular. Perhaps the vines are past peak, but the rains have created peak grass!”

Good photographers are never disappointed by the weather. They find beauty in it, as did Darrell.

He reported the stormy sky to be “interesting,” providing “a different feel for photography” with “diffused light without the harsh contrasts found on a sunny day.

“It felt very much like a typical fall color day, and I enjoyed the vistas from the various wineries perched on hills on Shenandoah Road. These photos are all from that road, and enjoyed tasting the great wines from this unique region,” he reported.

,

Another Great Autumn Sunset

Folsom Lake (11/8/16) John Poimiroo

Blue oak, Folsom Lake (11/8/16) John Poimiroo

, ,

Returning to Downieville

Lavezzola Creek, Downieville (11/5/16) Philip Reedy

Lavezzola Creek, Downieville (11/5/16) Philip Reedy

Lavezzola Creek, Downieville (11/5/16) Philip Reedy

Lavezzola Creek, Downieville (11/5/16) Philip Reedy

Lavezzola Creek, Downieville (11/5/16) Philip Reedy

Lavezzola Creek, Downieville (11/5/16) Philip Reedy

Last weekend’s storm kept a lot of photographers and color spotters from visiting locations where autumn color was peaking.

That happened to Philip Reedy, who returned to Downieville, in the northern Gold Country, yesterday to find the color just past peak along the North Yuba River and spent bigleaf maple leaves washed onto its banks.

He noted that a few bigleaf maples persist in speckling the forest with yellow, though it’s evident from his pictures that while the fly fishing is surely fun, fall color spotting is at the end of its run.

For the best fall color now in the northern Mother Lode, Philip recommends lower elevations along CA-49 on the drive to Downieville, the North Yuba River west of Downieville, at lower elevations along CA-49 and beside Lavezzola Creek, north of Downieville.

Downieville – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Spots of bright color can still be seen near Downieville at the northern terminus of the Gold Country, though it is fading.

Clear
Tuesday
Clear
High 63°/Low 43°
Rain
Wednesday
Rain
High 49°/Low 42°
Rain
Thursday
Rain
High 44°/Low 41°
Rain
Friday
Rain
High 47°/Low 44°

 

, ,

A Satisfying Drive Through Sacramento

Leaf Cookies, Freeport Bakery, Sacramento (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Leaf Cookies, Freeport Bakery, Sacramento (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

The most satisfying leaves of autumn are Leaf Cookies sold at the Freeport Bakery in Sacramento.

Buying a half-dozen of them has become a sure stop on a routine fall color drive that I take each November along the American River to Sacramento and back.

Mormon Island (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Mormon Island (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Mormon Island (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Mormon Island (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The drive begins in Folsom where Mormon Island Wetlands and the boulevards of Folsom are near peak. Frémont cottonwood at the wetlands preserve (part of Folsom Lake State Recreation Area) began showing yellow in September, though they still have lots of green, lime and fresh yellow in them.

Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Guarding Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Posing Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Plaza Park, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Plaza Park, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Continuing west on US 50, I exit at Sunrise Blvd. for a visit to downtown Fair Oaks where, near Plaza Park, roosters hold court, crowing, scratching and otherwise guarding their turf.

The roosters are part of the charm of Fair Oaks, a rural town that is now surrounded by suburbia and has become an oasis of authentic shops, cafes and restaurants.

Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Strutting Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Curious Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

Seeing Red Rooster, Fair Oaks (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returning to US 50 and traveling on to Sacramento, I exit and tour “the 40s,” Sacramento’s tony residential area, so named because it is comprised of avenues numbered in the 40s.

16th Avenue, Sacramento (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

16th Avenue, Sacramento (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

41st Avenue, Sacramento (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

41st Avenue, Sacramento (11/5/16) John Poimiroo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the avenues, leaves that have fallen from the capital city’s towering London planetrees are blown into piles to be scooped up by city street cleaners and taken away.

London planetrees are a variety of sycamore.  Their leaves are a mix of chartreuse and orange-brown. Presently, they’re near peak.

Sacramento prides itself as a city of trees and nowhere is that more evident than at William Land Park, south of downtown or on the drive into Sacramento International Airport, where trees are planted by species in a grand arboretum that leads to the airport’s terminals.

No wonder, Leaf Cookies are so popular in Sacramento.

American River and Sacramento – Near Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – 

, ,

Urban Forest Exotics

Pacific dogwood (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Pacific dogwood (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Eastern redbud (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Eastern redbud (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Eastern redbud (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Eastern redbud (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As color descends throughout California, the bold stands of aspen have disappeared. The last remaining big show are the black oak, which continue to show orange color at elevations below 3,000′.

Oregon splitleaf birch (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Oregon splitleaf birch (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Pacific dogwood (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Pacific dogwood (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Color spotters turn to California’s urban forests for bright color, as I did this past week in my garden in El Dorado Hills (800′).

Chinese pistache (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Chinese pistache (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Chinese pistache (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

Chinese pistache (11/2/16) John Poimiroo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There, Eastern redbud, Pacific dogwood, breeze-brushed Oregon splitleaf birch and Chinese pistache were backlit and beautiful.

Today, I head out on a search for more exotics showing color in Sacramento’s urban forest.

California’s Urban Forests – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Clear
Tuesday
Clear
High 67°/Low 51°
Rain
Wednesday
Rain
High 57°/Low 51°
Chance of Rain
Thursday
Chance of Rain
High 55°/Low 52°
Rain
Friday
Rain
High 54°/Low 52°
,

Calaveras Big Trees Goin’ Big in Small Ways

Calaveras Big Trees State Park (10/22/16) Jeff Hemming

Calaveras Big Trees State Park (10/22/16) Jeff Hemming

Calaveras Big Trees State Park (10/22/16) Jeff Hemming

Calaveras Big Trees State Park (10/22/16) Jeff Hemming

Color spotter Jeff Hemming spent Saturday in Calaveras Big Trees, North Grove. He reports “Lots of small pockets of color. Lots of red, but still some yellow.”

The forest floor sparkles with stunted rose, orange, pink and lime dogwoods.

Though he cautions, “Might not last much longer, especially if its supposed to rain this next week.”

Calaveras Big Trees State Park (4,800′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!