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Gone With The Wind

Before The Wind, Mono County (File Photo) Alicia Vennos

Before The Wind, Mono County (File Photo) Alicia Vennos

It began blowing at about noon yesterday in the Sierra foothills and blew through the afternoon and night, stripping trees of leaves that had turned.  Snow fell to 5,000′ in elevation.  Steve Hemphill of Sierra-at-Tahoe said a foot fell last night.  Webcams from Heavenly and Kirkwood show a heavy dusting, though those images showed brush poking through, here and there.  It will take a bit longer before we’ll be skiing, even though Heavenly began making snow today.

On Saturday, we traveled to Pleasant Valley in the Gold Country where the oaks were beautifully orange along Snow’s Road, south of Camino and Apple Hill.  High winds likely stripped a bit of that color, yesterday, though leaves that hadn’t yet turned will remain on their branches and color up in the next week or two.

US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sriday

US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

Black Oak, US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

Black Oak, US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

Also traveling US 50 (The Lincoln Highway) this past Saturday was Vijay Sridhar, who was on his way to Emerald Bay.  Vijay was taken by the beautiful color to be seen beside US50, which was at peak.  He noted the beautiful combinations of green, yellow and orange  as the highway traveled beside the American River.

Chrystal Lake (10/26/13) Richard McCutcheon

Chrystal Lake (10/26/13) Richard McCutcheon

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon sent this image of what the color looked like at Chrystal Lake in Plumas County. The beautiful show that was at peak along Hwy 89 in the Northern Sierra has now been blown away by rain, snow and wind.

Mono County’s color spotter, Alicia Vennos, said the change began with, “…big winds yesterday afternoon and all through the night, and it’s snowing quite heavily right now (11 a.m.)”  She said, “driving the June Lake Loop yesterday late afternoon was like being in one of those booths where paper money is flying all around and you have to grab as many bills as you can – the leaves were swirling like crazy through the air!  So our precious fall season has come to an end.”

There wasn’t much left on the trees in Mono County, as the show had already descended to 6,000′, so the storm stripped what would have dropped anyway, over the coming week.

We’re now in a typical pattern of early storms then breaks.  It’s predicted to be cold for the next week, but then warm slightly.  That means color will continue to develop at lower altitudes and autumn has not ended. The Shasta Cascade and Gold Country regions will likely be at or near full peak in the next two weeks, with color appearing between 3,000 and 4,000 feet.

Aspen, Eastern Sierra (10/23/13) Phoebe Joy

Aspen, Eastern Sierra (10/23/13) Phoebe Joy

Photographer Phoebe Chuason sent a link to images she’d captured in the Eastern Sierra on Oct. 23, well before the storm flew through.  She took our advice to GO NOW! and got lovely photos of the peak, including a late season shot at Cardinal Mine in the Bishop Creek Canyon that is pure magic.  CLICK HERE to see her photos.

ATT San Ramon

AT&T Park, San Ramon (10/27/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Color spotter Linnea Wahamaki sends this photo of fall color at the AT&T Business Park in San Ramon.  It’s representative of the many beautiful urban forests that are at or near peak throughout California.  Great color can be seen in Sacramento, Burlingame, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Walnut Creek and San Ramon.

Past Peak – Mono County – You missed it.  Alicia thanks all who came to enjoy the fall colors of Mono County this autumn and says she’s already missing the show, but looking forward to 2014.

30 – 50% – Gold Country (3,500′) – Pleasant Valley is at too low an elevation to have been snowed upon, but the many oaks that are turning from green to orange have likely lost a good percentage of leaves from yesterday’s winds.  Still, color will continue to show on leaves that hadn’t turned.

Black oak, US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

Black oak, US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – US 50 (4,000 to 5,000′) – Black oaks are peaking along The Lincoln Highway between Pollock Pines and Kyburz.

 

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Shasta, Siskiyou and Plumas Peaking

Anderson River Park (10/23/13) SCWA

Anderson River Park (10/23/13) SCWA

GO NOW! – 75-100% – Siskiyou County – The area surrounding Mt. Shasta between 3,500’ and 4,000’ is at full peak.  Now is the time to get a shot of Mt. Shasta with fall color in the foreground, though it will be declining now, through the weekend and into next week.  Good places to head are lower Castle Lake Road, lower South Fork Road (Forest Road 26), and Pondosa on Hwy 89 east of Mt. Shasta.  Aspen near Pondosa are at peak, though now dropping color.

GO NOW! 50-75% – Shasta County – The area in and around Redding is approaching peak, so we’re issuing our first Go Now Alert for Shasta County.  Bigleaf maple, oaks and riparian brush are nearing peak with lots of yellow, orange, gold, red, and chartreuse in the woods.  Areas along the Sacramento River Trail, at Sundial Bridge, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and Anderson River Park are brightening up with some areas below 50% and others near peak.   Great fall color is also seen at the Coleman Fish Hatchery and the Battle Creek Wildlife Area, where fall colors and salmon returning to the area can be seen simultaneously.   Drive west on CA-299 for color splashes between Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Weaverville.

Black Oak, Plumas County (10/23/13) Jeff Titcomb

Black Oak, Plumas County (10/23/13) Jeff Titcomb

GO NOW!  75-100% – Plumas County – Oaks along Highway 89 have been at peak for the past week.  Aspen and dogwood are also peaking, providing for abundant shows of yellow, orange, and red in the forest.  See Jeff Titcomb’s remarkable videos of fall color (posted earlier this week).

30 – 50% – Butte County – Little has changed this week in Butte County. Trees are still showing a variety of colors ranging from greens to reds, with the best places to see fall color remaining as: Bidwell Park, the Hwy 32 corridor, CSU Chico, the Hwy 99 corridor, Manzanita Ave., and Esplanade Ave.  On Oct. 26, Chico holds its 25th Open Art Studios Art Tour. More about it is found at www.chicoartcenter.com

Sacramento River Discovery Center, Red Bluff (10/23/13) Grace Smith

Sacramento River Discovery Center, Red Bluff (10/23/13) Grace Smith

30 – 50% – Tehama County – More color is appearing at lower elevations of Tehama County, though the change is similar to Butte County. There is a considerable amount of yellows, and more oranges and reds appearing among bright greens.  Areas to see the best displays are found at The Sacramento River Discovery Center, Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. While the fall color is fiddling around, so will be western fiddlers at the Western Open Fiddle Championship in Red Bluff, Oct. 24 – 26. More about it is found at www.westernopenfiddle.com

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Videos Postcards From Round Valley

Jeff Titcomb provides these videos of the brilliant color to be seen near Greenville on the way to the Round Valley (Plumas County).

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Shootin’ the Curl Along Hwy 89

Shootin' the curl along Hwy 89 in Plumas County (10/20/13) Richard McCutcheon

Shootin’ the curl along Hwy 89 in Plumas County (10/20/13) Richard McCutcheon

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon was riding beneath a crest of fall color along Hwy 89 in Plumas County.  He says driving through the overarching canopy of beautiful fall color in the Northern Sierra is like shootin’ the curl of a big break off the California coast.

Oaks, Hwy 89, Plumas County (10/20/13) Richard McCutcheon

Oaks, Hwy 89, Plumas County (10/20/13) Richard McCutcheon

Oaks, Indian Valley

Oaks, Indian Valley (10/22/13) Richard McCutcheon

Taylorsville (10/22/13) Richard McCutcheon

Taylorsville (10/22/13) Richard McCutcheon

75 – 100% – Hwy 89 – Plumas County – It’s full peak and glorious along California State Route 89 through Plumas County and into the Shasta Cascade.  Looking down on the Indian Valley from 7,000′, groves of oaks add orange color to the landscape.  McCutcheon describes it as, “just about as pretty as you will ever see it,” and he should know as he’s certainly the most observant and reliable spotter along this route.

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Shasta Cascade Colors Up – Plumas Peaking

Grace Smith reports from the Shasta Cascade that color change is rapidly approaching peak.  Go Now! alerts have been issued for Plumas and Siskiyou Counties.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Siskiyou County –  McCloud, always famous for its beautiful fall colors is reporting significant color changes this past week in town and surrounding town.  That presents a lovely foreground to views of Mt. Shasta.  Tip of the Week: visit McCloud Falls, in McCloud.

Oaks, Hideaway Hotel, Greenville (10/14/13) Jeff Titcomb

Oaks, Hideaway Hotel, Greenville (10/14/13) Jeff Titcomb

Oaks, Greenville (10/14/13) Jeff Titcomb

Oaks, Greenville (10/14/13) Jeff Titcomb

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Plumas County – Karen Moritz reports full peak throughout Plumas County.  She says, “We’re at 100 percent on most everything. The oaks on the hillsides are perfect. Aspens and dogwood are in full color too. Willows and Indian Rhubarb showing everywhere along rivers and streams. Some  trees have lost quite a bit of their leaves due to wind and snow, though there still are great colorful pockets of yellow, gold, red, and orange. Aspen are turning beautiful shades of gold and yellow in the Lake Davis area.  Oaks near Portola and Greenville are turning a yellow, gold, and a slight hint of red.  The oaks near Graeagle and Quincy are changing slower than the rest of the area.

30 – 50% – Tehama County – Color is beginning to appear in the Northern Sacramento Valley.  Though, quite a bit of green is still seen in riparian woodlands along the Sacramento River.  Look for spots of yellow, orange, red, and gold at the Sacramento River Discovery Center and Woodson Bridge Recreation Area.

 

Pin Oak on Pine, Redding (10/17/13) Grace Smith

Pin Oak on Pine, Redding (10/17/13) Grace Smith

30 – 50% – Shasta County – Bigleaf maples in Anderson have flushed with lots of yellow, orange, and quite a bit of red. The cottonwoods are showing yellow and gold. Head to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Anderson River Park, the Sacramento River Trail in Redding, and the McConnell Arboretum at Turtle Bay for the best fall color viewing.

Bidwell Park, Chico (10/16/13) Stephany Fernandez

Bidwell Park, Chico (10/16/13) Stephany Fernandez

30 – 50% – Butte County – Green, yellow, and red are all adorning the trees of Chico this week.  Bidwell Park, Highway 32 Corridor, the Esplanade, CSU Chico, and Mangrove Avenue have the best displays.  Saturday Oct. 19 is the 25th Open Art Studio in Chico.  For more information, call (530) 895-8726 or visit www.chicoartcenter.com.

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Oaks Peaking in Plumas County

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Cottonwood and oaks, Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Fall Oaks, Seen from Mt Jura near Taylorsville (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Fall Oaks, Seen from Mt Jura near Taylorsville (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon sends these photographs of cottonwood and oaks colored up at full peak in Plumas County, near Taylorsville.  California’s oaks have lovely, though subtle color at peak.  It’s often difficult to catch the oaks all turned at the same time, since they tend to change little by little over the weeks.  Richard’s aerial perspective is a new one that shows the full change of the trees, looking down on them.  Bravo, Richard.

Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Oaks, Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Oaks, Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

GO NOW! – Oak Woodlands – Plumas County – 

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Plumas and Trinity Approaching Peak

Grace Smith reports from Anderson, that the Shasta Cascade region of northeast California is finally approaching peak with lots of color developing in Trinity and Plumas Counties.

Aspen, Plumas County (10/5/13) Grace Smith

Aspen, Plumas County (10/5/13) Grace Smith

GO NOW – 50 – 75% – Plumas County – Aspen around Antelope Lake are approaching peak, with some lime, though mostly fluttering yellow and orange.  Most other trees in the Greenville area are also near peak.  Joe Willis reports on his blog (Black Oak Naturalist) that in Quincy, a  sweet gum, or liquidamber, on the northeast corner of the courthouse lawn is currently putting on a great show, as is a nearby mountain ash which is loaded with bright orange berries and some of its leaves are turning red. Joe also recommends looking closely at the black oak leaves, a mix of green and orange. The coming two weeks are anticipated to be optimum viewing for Plumas County, as the color is expected to drop, thereafter.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Trinity County – Colors are brilliant along CA-3 near Trinity Center and Coffee Creek, with bigleaf maple warming the highway with orange and yellow and Pacific dogwood blushing red and pink.  Lower down, along CA-299 bewtween (Weaverville) and Whiskeytown NRA, wild cucumber are beginning to glow chartreuse, while bigleaf maple are bright yellow and lime.

15 – 30% – Butte County – There hasn’t been much change in the past week, though this changes quickly and when it does, it can be spectacular. Optimal areas to see fall color in Butte County remain Bidwell Park in Chico, Chico State University, the Highway 99 corridor, and Highway 32 corridor. Oct. 10 is  AutumnFest, between Chico and Durham at the Midway Patrick Ranch Museum. For more about this event, CLICK HERE. 

15 – 30% – Shasta County –  Similar to Butte County, more lime is turning to yellow, though it’s still at higher elevation.  Along the Sacramento River Trail in Redding, near the Sundial Bridge and at the Anderson River Park, you’ll see orange oaks, some bigleaf maple and riparian shrubbery.  CLICK HERE for news on local events.

0 – 15% – Tehama County 0-15% – There’s been little change at lower elevations in Tehama County.  All the action is occurring above 6,000′.  A good route to see it is along Hwy 36 from Red Bluff to Chester.

 

 

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Who’s On First

Indian Rhubarb, Butt Creek - © Richard McCutcheon, 2013

Indian Rhubarb, Butt Creek – © Richard McCutcheon, 2013

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon sends this lovely spot of color seen yesterday in Butt Creek (Plumas County) and reports, “Could not believe it on Aug 1st, Indian Ruhbarb turned on Butt Creek.”

0 – 15% – Plumas County – Earning honors for the first report of autumn (at the beginning of August), Richard McCutcheon reports a hint of the glory to come now appearing along High Sierra streams.