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Color Spotting in the Rain

Stevens Canyon Rd., Cupertino (11/13/20) Vishal Mishra

What do you do on a rainy afternoon? Go color spotting.

That’s when the colors will be vibrant from any angle. Bay Area color spotter Vishal Mishra explored Cupertino’s Stevens Canyon Road on Friday when others were dry inside and missing the color.

He found bigleaf maple Near Peak throughout the canyon, with lots of leaves scattered on the ground.

  • Cupertino (236′) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now.
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Lovin’ Los Altos

Los Altos (11/7/20) Anson Davalos

Little girls love pretty things, so it wasn’t surprising that Anson Davalos’ girls would become fall color spotters like their daddy.

They enjoyed a walk through downtown Los Altos, last week, where Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis) are lining the streets with their bright orange, red and – a little girl’s favorite color – pink.

Autumn has descended to northern California’s urban forests with peak color lighting up Sacramento, Davis, Walnut Creek, Danville, Pleasanton, Los Altos, Saratoga, Campbell and San Jose.

  • Los Altos (157′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) GO NOW!
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Color Dips into Silicon Valley

Bigleaf maple, CA-9, Saratoga (11/8//20) Vishal Mishra

Saratoga is on the western edge of the Santa Clara Valley (better known as Silicon Valley).

This lovely bedroom community is forested with colorful exotic trees, though if you drive State Route 9 up into the Santa Cruz Mountains toward Big Basin, it’s not long before you pass through Near Peak bigleaf maple, as Vishal Mishra found this past weekend.

  • CA-9, Saratoga (423′) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now.
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Pure Purisima

Bigleaf maple, Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve (11/6/20) Sam Reeves

Purisima Creek in San Mateo County was once my stomping grounds. I grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula and Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve was just over the hill in Half Moon Bay.

I haven’t been back in years, but as a Boy Scout I hiked its trails, endlessly. So when Sam Reeves sent these photos, memories of my youth at Purisima came flooding back.

As Sam correctly reports, “Coastal California has a very different set of fall colors, but it’s definitely there for the taking.  The maples in the redwood forest have created a very nice ground canopy of color.  Bigleaf maple leaves were everywhere in the creekbed, on the trail, among the fern groves, and scattered about the hillsides.”

What you’re seeing in Sam’s photographs is fairly typical of fall color along the San Francisco Peninsula’s mountains. Bigleaf maple, poison oak, black oak, red alder, and creek dogwood are the foliage that provide spots of color near drainages.

Sam admits he’s been CaliforniaFallColor.com user for quite some time, but finally got fed up with being a lurker and decided it was time to post a report.

We’re glad he did, as it was a walk down memory lane for me, and he scores a First Report for Purisima Creek!

  • Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve, Half Moon Bay (500′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Late Autumn Storms Pave Silicon Valley With Gold

Gingko biloba, Mountain View (12/5/19) Vishal Mishra

As if the Silicon Valley wasn’t already paved with gold, late autumn is truly paving its streets with golden gingko leaves.

Silicon Valley color spotter Vishal Mishra sends these images of Gingko biloba littering the streets of Mountain View with gold.

  • Mountain View – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.
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Leafless Tree Identification

Gingko biloba, San Francisco (12/6/19) Friends of the Urban Forest

San Francisco’s Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) are “hedging bets,” this Sunday (love the pun), by leading a free walking tour of fall color remaining in San Francisco’s Mission District, regardless of predicted stormy weather.

Ben Carlson of FUF says the walk hopes to “catch the tail end of our fall colors, but on the other hand we’ll be talking about how to identify many of San Francisco’s most common deciduous species once they’ve lost their leaves altogether (looking for clues in twigs, bark, overall shape etc.).”

That’s a fascinating idea … a Leafless Tree Identification Tour. For me, it’s hard enough discerning one tree from another using their photographs, but take away the leaves? These FUF guys are good.

To participate, meet on Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. at 735 Dolores St. for the walk or CLICK HERE for more information.

Now, should you miss the walk, consider picking up a Green Christmas Tree from FUF. A $95 donation gets you a recyclable live tree to decorate. After the holidays, return the tree and it will be planted somewhere in San Francisco.

Ester goes home for the holidays, San Francisco (12/3/19) Friends of the Urban Forest

What’s pure fun about this program is that each tree has been given a name, not a number. In the above example, “Ester” (a fern pine, Afrocarpus gracilior) will be spending the holidays with her benefactor, then return to FUF to grace The City’s streets, thereafter.

For more about how to participate in this program and help green-up San Francisco’s urban forest, CLICK HERE.

  • Presidio, San Francisco – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT. And while you’re there, donate and borrow a living Christmas Tree to improve San Francisco’s urban forest.
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Bay Area Gets Vibrant

Autumn in the San Francisco Bay Area is often best during Thanksgiving Week. Color spotter Vishal Mishra found Los Altos and Palo Alto true to form and glowing yesterday.

Landmark elm, flowering pear and Chinese pistache are still heavy with leaves, though dropping them in a steady fall.

  • San Francisco Bay Area – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Cupertino Gold

Cupertino has been producing high tech gold for decades. Now Gingko biloba are littering the home of Apple Corporation with fallen gold.

Deepa Yuvaraj writes she’s been sharing pictures of Silicon Valley fall color with friends for years, though just discovered CaliforniaFallColor.com, perhaps because of The Merc’s review (previous post).

Perhaps someone who works at Apple would take pictures with an iPhone of fall color inside the Apple Park campus ring. It would sure be fun to post them.

  • Cupertino (72′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Visions of Sweet Gums

At a time when visions of sugar plums dance in childrens’ heads, Anson Davalos sends visions of Sweetgums, Flowering pear and Chinese pistache from Silicon Valley.

  • Los Gatos – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Santa Clara – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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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!