Red Red Wine

Pagani Ranch, Kenwood (11/19/21) David Sharp

When Neil Diamond first sang Red Red Wine about a lover whose painful absence could only be forgotten by drinking wine, his soulful lyrics brimmed with emotion and loss. You could feel his “blue, blue heart” being torn apart by her absence as he sang.

In these last weeks of autumn, the same feeling arises as photographs record departing color. As David Sharp and Lucas Yan’s images taken in the Napa and Sonoma wine country were opened, Diamond’s  melody, then his mournful lyrics, were recalled.

I'd have sworn, that with time
Thoughts of you would leave my head.
I was wrong, now I find
Just one thing makes me forget ...
Red red wine

  • Napa Valley (253′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It.
  • Sonoma Valley (85′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed it.

Time To Go Wine Tasting

Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller

It’s time to go wine tasting, as if you needed encouragement.

Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller

Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller

Gene Miller reports that Wine Country is back with Near Peak to Peak color being seen along SR29 and The Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley.

He notes, “In addition to the colors, the smells of the various vintages and cuisine that wafted over the Valley were incredible.”



Boeschen Vineyards, Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller

Boeschen Vineyards, Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller









  • Napa Valley (253′) – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!


Vintage Napa

Tubbs Lane, CA-29, Napa Valley (11/5/21) David Sharp

Hardly anyone agrees on Napa Valley wines, other than they are good. The same can be said for its fall color. David Sharp submitted these images, then remarked that the Napa Valley is a mixed bag of some great fall color, but also some things just developing.

Sounds like just the kind of remark made between friends the last time I was in a tasting room, there … “some great, some just developing.”

Beaulieu Vineyards, Rutherford (11/4/21) David Sharp


Chinese pistache and vines, Frogs Leap Winery, Rutherford (11/4/21) David Sharp

Napa Valley Wine Library Association, St. Helena (11/5/21) David Sharp

Petrified Forest Rd., Calistoga (11/5/21) David Sharp









Hwy 29, Napa Valley (11/5/21) David Sharp

To our taste, however, the Napa Valley is vintage and now’s the time to head there. Not only has the crush of traffic lightened, following harvest and crush, but the autumn color is vibrant.

Napa Valley Wine Library, St. Helena (11/5/21) David Sharp

  • Napa Valley (253′) – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!


Jurassic Park

Prairie Creek Redwoods SP (10/29/21) Max Forster

Redwoods were the dominant tree during the Jurassic period, 180 to 135 million years ago. So, taking a walk through any of the Redwood National and State Parks in northwest California is truly to visit Jurassic Park. All that’s missing are dinosaurs.

Prairie Creek Redwoods SP (10/29/21) Max Forster

North Coast color spotter Max Forster reports that Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, north of Orick, “is at peak for bigleaf maple, vine maple and approaching peak for cascara, alder and most other deciduous understory shrubs and plants.”

Prairie Creek Redwoods SP (10/29/21) Max Forster

Prairie Creek Redwoods SP (10/29/21) Max Forster

He recommends  hiking the Karl Knapp Trail (formerly Prairie Creek Trail) or the Foothill Trail to best see what the park offers.


Prairie Creek Redwoods SP (10/29/21) Max Forster

  • Redwoods National & State Parks (1,000′) – Peak (75 – 100%) GO NOW!


Early Harvest

There’s an early harvest of fall color to be seen in Mendocino County, where vines along West Road in Redwood Valley, north of Ukiah, are hemorrhaging, reports Michelle Pontoni.

Most of the vines seen from US 101 are green, but should present a brilliant show in weeks to come.

  • West Road, Redwood Valley, US 101 (633′) – Patchy (10 – 50%)

In the Eye of the Beholder

Bigleaf maple and bracken fern, Jolly Giant Creek, Shay Park, Arcata (9/27/21) Michelle Pontoni

When bigleaf maple leaves fall on bracken fern, they just mess it up. Or do they?

There’s order in the disorder of spent leaves cluttering up the forest in Arcata, as seen by Michelle Pontoni.

  • Arcata Community Forest (100′) – Patchy (10 – 50%)
  • Jolly Giant Creek, Shay Park, Arcata (100′) – Past Peak, You Missed It.
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Marin Coho Run Begins

Coho salmon, Lagunitas Creek (11/24/20) Marin Municipal Water District

The winter run of critically endangered Coho salmon is running late, the Turtle Island Restoration Network reports.

The largest run of coho salmon and steelhead trout to be seen occurs in Marin County along Lagunitas Creek, San Geronimo Creek, Olema Creek and several other tributaries. It continues through February with peak viewing now through January. Steelhead trout spawn later, ususally between January and March.

Some 300 to 700 of the salmon are expected to spawn this year, which is considered to be above average.

This winter’s run begins at Tomales Bay where the salmon enter freshwater streams. This year, however, the run is late as little rain has fallen. To see the salmon, visit the Leo T Cronin Salmon Viewing Area, operated by the Marin Municipal Water District in the town of Lagunitas.

Salmon can be seen spawning in the creek directly below the parking lot and at several locations upstream along fire road. For more information on seeing the coho salmon run, CLICK HERE.

  • Coho Salmon Run, Marin County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Late Harvest

Liquidambar, Hwy 116, Sonoma County (12/5/20) David Laurence Sharp

How sweet it is. The late harvest of fall color along the North Coast, that is.

David Laurence Sharp notes that just like a sweet Sauterne that is the last to be harvested, a boulevard of liquidambar (half way between Sebastopol and Graton along Hwy 116 in Sonoma County) takes “a long time … to change color completely. So, I wait and wait and wait. This year some of the trees had already lost some of their leaves.”

Napa Valley (11/28/20) Vishal Mishra

Vishal Mishra and Seema Bhatt spent the final days of November in the Napa Valley enjoying scenes of the autumn’s end, there.

Michelle and Ron Pontoni shadowed it along the streets of Arcata.

  • Sonoma County (108′) – Past Peak, You Missed It.
  • Napa Valley (253′) – Past Peak, You Missed It.
  • Arcata (23′) – Past Peak, You Missed It.
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Valley of the Moon

Valley oak, Valley of the Moon, Kenwood (11/29/20) David Laurence Sharp

Jack London loved the Sonoma Valley. He called it the Valley of the Moon. It’s where London planned his dream home, Wolf House, which burned to the ground days before the great outdoor adventure novelist was to occupy it in 1913.

The ruins remain on Sonoma Mountain, above Glen Ellen where Jack London State Historic Park memorializes the California author’s fabled life.

Below, arcing through the crescent-shaped Valley of the Moon, vineyards are now mostly past peak, reports wine country photographer David Laurence Sharp, “though the trees are looking great.”

Blending fascinating history and glorious nature, Jack London State Historic Park offers more than 29 miles of back-country trails that roam through mixed forests, redwood groves, oak woodlands, and grassy meadows.

The four-mile Ancient Redwood Trail loops from the parking lot to a 14-foot wide old growth redwood affectionately known as “the Grandmother tree.”  Two scenic and relatively short historic trails lead to the Wolf House ruins and a tour of London’s Beauty Ranch.

Jack London was one of the most prolific and popular authors of his time, the first to earn a million dollars at his trade.   Many of his books are considered classics, including “Call of the Wild,” “White Fang,” “The Sea Wolf,” and “Martin Eden.” Jack’s Shop offers more than 50 of Jack London’s titles as well as writings about his life, and books by and about his wife, Charmian London.  

While the Park’s indoor facilities – the Museum and Cottage – are currently closed, Jack’s Shop, the park’s gift store, is open outdoors adjacent to the Cottage on weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Park admission fees apply.

Jack London State Historic Park will remain open for holiday shopping and outdoor recreation through the holiday season, Jack London Partners has announced. JLP is the first non-profit organization to manage a state park on behalf of the people of California. For more about visiting the park, CLICK HERE.

  • Sonoma Valley (423′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It!
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Fall, Not Spring Color

Trione-Annadel State Park near Santa Rosa in Sonoma County is better known for its spring wildflowers, not its fall color.

John Natelli found the opposite on Thanksgiving Day with black oak, toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) and coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) providing peak fall color. In doing so, he scored a First Report.

  • Trione-Annadel State Park, Santa Rosa (400′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!