Posts

, ,

Mount Up and Ride

Lower Rock Creek Trail (10/13/18) Gigi de Jong

Lower Rock Creek Trail (10/13/18) Gigi de Jong

Lower Rock Creek Trail (10/13/18) Gigi de Jong

Lower Rock Creek Trail (10/13/18) Gigi de Jong

“Mount up and ride,” encourages Bishop Area color spotter Gigi de Jong who describes the Lower Rock Creek Trail (at the top of Round Valley, north of Bishop – First Report) as the gold standard for mountain biking in the Eastern Sierra.

“This trail earns ‘gold’ for its superior ride, and fall is its ‘golden season’ due to mild days and the trail’s splendid color,” she explains.

Aspen near the top of the trail are just beginning to yellow. Parts of the trail appear luminous. Gigi writes, “The last rays of the setting sun drop like liquid gold through the canopy, leaving traces of iridescent color on the ripples of Rock Creek. Willow and birch stand out in hues of deep gold and burnt orange.”

Bishop Creek Canyon is now done peaking. Though the lowest sections of the canyon remain at peak, none of them compare to the spectacular scenes witnessed for the past three weeks, higher up. Now, the show in Inyo County is dropping to the lower canyons and valleys.

Bishop Country Club (10/15/18) Gigi de Jong

In the Owens Valley, a surprising place to be wowed by autumn is the Bishop Country Club (First Report) where, Gigi continues, “where the luscious green of the fairways meets the lustrous yellow of the trees. Soon the beautiful grounds of the country club will blend with the last colors of summer in a riotous collision with autumn. Then,” she exudes, “if we’re lucky, a blanket of white will soften everything into the monochromatic colors of winter. Get ready for the most beautiful round of golf, ah … apologies, gold – anywhere!”

 

 

Owens Valley (10/15/18) Gigi de Jong

Owens Valley (10/15/18) Gigi de Jong

Other Owen’s Valley developing areas include Buckley Ponds, Rawson Ponds and canals where landmark cottonwoods grow along their edges, adorned with yellow crowns.

“They are majestic and tower over the valley’s lowland landscape,” Gigi adds, “Also, abandoned grain silos rise like ghosts from a forgotten era, standing sentinel over fields of pure sunshine. California grasses mixed with still-blossoming yellow rabbitbrush and cottonwoods cloaked in gold are filled with the sounds of migrating songbirds and bees.” 

Owens Valley (10/15/18) Gigi de Jong

Owens Valley/Round Valley/Pine Creek

  • Lower Rock Creek Rd – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Round Valley – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Pine Creek Canyon – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Bishop Country Club – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Owens Valley – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Big Pine Creek – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Mt. Whitney Portal – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Chocolate Lakes Trail, Inyo County (10/13/18) Kirsten Liske

Bishop Creek Canyon

S. Fork Bishop Creek

  • South Lake – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Weir Pond – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Parcher’s Resort – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Willow Camp – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Surveyor’s Meadow – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Table Mountain Group Camp – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Stiny Loop/Mt Glen Camp – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Mist Falls – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Four Jeffrey Camp – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

M. Fork Bishop Creek

  • Sabrina Lake – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Sabrina Approach – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Sabrina Campground – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Groves Above Cardinal Village – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Aspendell – Peak to Past Peak – GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!
  • Intake II – – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Big Trees Camp – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

N. Fork Bishop Creek

  • North Lake – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • North Lake Rd. – – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!

 

 

, ,

Eastern Sierra Portfolio

North Lake Fisheye (10/5/18) Elliot McGucken

Elliot McGucken has captured some of the most compelling images we’ve seen of Bishop Creek Canyon.

He was there on Friday and returned by way of Sonora Pass on Saturday, sending this selection of his favorites from that trip.

The intense color seen in these shots is no longer seen at the same locations. Though, there are still many great images to be captured in the canyon for another week to two weeks, at descending elevations. 

  • Bishop Creek Canyon – Past Peak (9,000’+) YOU MISSED IT.
  • Bishop Creek Canyon – Peak (8,500 – 9,000′) GO NOW!
  • Bishop Creek Canyon – Near Peak (below 8,500′) GO NOW!
  • Sonora Pass – Past Peak (above 9,000′) YOU MISSED IT!
  • Sonora Pass – Peak (below 9,000′) GO NOW!

North Lake Rd, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/5/18) Elliot McGucken

Twin aspen, Lundy Canyon, Mono County (10/6/18) Elliot McGucken

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/5/18) Elliot McGucken

Sonora Pass (10/6/18) Elliot McGucken

Sonora Pass (10/6/18) Elliot McGucken

 

, ,

Catching Attention

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

Bishop Creek (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

There’s one sure way to catch attention in Bishop Creek Canyon. Cast a fly rod at the east end of North Lake. That’s where photographers stand to get the classic shot of North Lake at peak.

Earlier this week, Phillip Reedy stood “shoulder to shoulder” with about 30 other photographers there, waiting for the right shot.

Then, because he photographs a lot of cover shots for fly fishing magazines and is always looking for good backgrounds, he put on waders, picked up a fly rod and began fishing. Soon, the other photographers there wanted to take pictures of him posing in his fly gear as he fished.

Phil joked to them that he could pay for his trip if they would each pay him a $5 modeling fee. All joking aside, Phil got his compensation another way. He found, “that North Lake is packed with eager brook trout so I caught a number of those during the day while waiting for the light to get better.”

Also, one of the fishing shots he took might eventually be purchased for use on the cover of an outdoor magazine.

North Lake (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

Phil’s humorous story leads me to suggest that fall color photography can be revenue producing, in addition to being an entertaining avocation.

If you have professional equipment and solid skills at photography, consider combining a fall photo outing with taking photographs for possible magazine covers (RV, fishing, hunting, cycling, off-roading, backpacking, hiking, etc.). Here are some tips to successful magazine cover photography:

  • Before shooting, consider which magazines you intend to “pitch” your photos;
  • Know how the magazine (for whom you’re shooting) lays out its cover. Research past covers online and shoot to fit their style;
  • Consider how much space should be reserved for the magazine’s masthead (name/logo);
  • Know whether the magazine allows images to bleed behind its masthead or whether that space should be kept uncluttered;
  • Leave space in the photo to announce articles inside the magazine (often to the left and/or right of the image);
  • Shoot images that fit a specific magazine’s focus or that illustrate a potential topic;
  • All gear seen in the image should appear to be new or not easily recognized (magazines want to appear trendsetting);
  • Outdoor models should be attractive and real (they need not be professional models, but they should appeal and be believable to readers);
  • Magazine covers are vertical, so shoot with that in mind. Shoot both vertical images for covers and horizontal images for inside the magazine. Compose horizontal shots for possible additional use as cover photos;
  • Photograph with seasons in mind. Whatever appears in the photo should be natural to that season;
  • Shoot RAW or high resolution fine images. Magazines only use images of the highest quality for their cover;
  • Models should be outfitted in contemporary clothing, shoes or gear (you’ll never sell the photo if the backpack looks like it was a hand-me-down); and
  • Be prepared for rejection. Magazine editors choose images to illustrate a story that’s already been written (the cover story), to relate to the month of issue or season and to reflect events, trends and topics of interest to readers. Even the best photographs get turned down, when they lack relevance to the magazine and its readers. 

North Lake (9,225′) – Peak to Past Peak – GO NOW as YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!

, ,

Bishop Creek’s Over The Top

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts

This has been a mind-boggling past week up Bishop Creek Canyon. You might say, “it was over the top!”

North Lake finally caught up with Lake Sabrina and South Lake, rushing from Patchy to Peak in a few days. Then, clouds, rain, snow, refreshing clear autumn air and rainbows filled the skies over Inyo County.

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/30/18) Douglas Van Kirk

All that action attracted so many photographers that local color spotter Gigi de Jong described them as leapfrogging over one another for “the sweet spot and that great shot.””

What they saw, she described, were “soft clouds” sweeping across the sky “as the cumulus built in the late afternoon heat, then dissipated as the cool winds scattered them about.

“As the shadows played over the landscape, the colors seem to change from within. Sunlight brightened the yellows and shade deepened the oranges and reds.

North Lake Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou

Every vista had something magical about it,” Gigi said, causing observers to see things they hadn’t noticed before, like an old log cabin opposite Weir Pond and lovers as in love with the scene as they were with each other.

So many images arrived, that it’ll take days to post a representative selection, here. We’ll do our best, but there are many repeats and we like to show variety. In the meantime, we’re over the top over what we received.

As for the outlook, color has almost peaked at the highest elevations, but there’s still great color to be seen up Bishop Creek Canyon for another two weeks. Presently, the color is peaking under 9,000′, and the storm just made it better. 

Autumn Storm, US 395, Independence (10/3/18) Ursula Esser

South Fork, Bishop Creek

  • South Lake (9,768′) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW or YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!
  • Wier Pond (9,650′) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW or YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!
  • Parcher’s Resort (9,260′) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW or YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!
  • Willow Campground (9,000′)  – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Surveyor’s Meadow (8,975′)  – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Mist Falls and the Groves Above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Mountain Glen Campground (8,200′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Four Jeffreys (8,000′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Big Trees Campground (7,800′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Middle Fork, Bishop Creek

  • Lake Sabrina (9,150′)- Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Sabrina Approach (9,100′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Sabrina Campground (9,000′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Groves Above Cardinal Village (8,550′)- Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Aspendell (8,400′) — Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Intake II (8,000′)  – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Bishop Park Group Campground (8,400′) – Patchy (10-50%)

North Fork, Bishop Creek

  • North Lake (9,225′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • North Lake Rd (9,000′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Cardinal Village, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Log Cabin, Weir Pond, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Cardinal Village, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Bishop Park Group Campground, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

North Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Glen Campground, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Grass Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou

Grass Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sabrina Approach, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/30/18) Daniel Danzig

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/30/18) Daniel Danzig

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/30/18) Daniel Danzig

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/29/18) Douglas Van Kirk

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts

S. Fork Bishop Creek, Table Mountain Camp (10/1/18) Adam Potts

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

, ,

Head ’em up, Move ’em out

Groves Above Cardinal Village, M. Fork Bishop Creek (9/23/18) Matthew Pacheco

Time to hit the trail to Bishop Creek. GO NOW!

Reports filtering in from Bishop Creek Canyon (west of Bishop, CA) are confirming peak color at the highest elevations. The upper regions of the S. Fork and M. Fork are peaking. Only the North Fork of Bishop Creek (North Lake) has been lagging, and that could change any day within the coming week.

Here’s the long and the short of it.  First, the long …

Parchers Resort, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/23/18) Gigi de Jong

Bishop Creek Canyon – Peak (75-100%) at South Lake, Parchers and Lake Sabrina GO NOW!

Bishop color spotter Gigi de Jong has committed to submitting weekly reports from her color-rich area, this autumn. Her reports will be supplemented with observations from visiting and resident color spotters and photographers.

Gigi writes that on Sunday (9/23) Bishop Creek Canyon was “awash in yellow,” at its highest elevations, saying she caught the sun just setting with its “last rays catching the peaks and opposite ridge lines” as “aspen groves shined like polished lemons tumbling down the ravines,” with crisp and bright trees lining the road, “in counterpoint to the soft, reddish-orange tinge that illuminates bare peaks ahead.”

Lake Sabrina, M. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

She was treated to seeing “high wispy cirrus clouds,” the kind that “indicate the approach of wintery weather patterns” and that reflect pink, orange and lavender sunset light. Oh, to be there!

Lower Bishop Canyon remains green, but, Gigi continued, “further up the canyon, bright yellow is widespread. The forest of pines alongside the road appears to glow yellow from within – as if the forest floor is lit from beneath. At South Lake, gray granite rises up stark and craggy in contrast to the bright yellow that sparkles like sweet lemon drops offered by the gently waving branches.”

 

Willow Campground, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/24/18) Gigi de Jong

Gigi found color to be “almost uniformly yellow with a few hints of orange and red. A branch overhanging the creek opposite Parchers Resort looks like it’s testing the water and has seared to a warm orange and crimson. A small patch of trees near Willow Campground are all deep orange and seem to stand in defiance against the surrounding green and slate gray of the rocky outcrop behind.”

“From Parchers Resort to South Lake the color is peaking at 75% – 100%, however it may deepen in color as the nights get cooler. Some leaves are showing signs of decay with brown spots scattered about, so the deeper fall colors may not materialize in abundance this year.  A little lower down the canyon, from around Habeggers to near Parchers, the color is patchy at about 50%, and beautifully bright.”

Alena Nicholas agreed, reporting that “fall color is definitely ‘On The Way’, with color up in the higher elevations of Bishop Creek. Both the Sabrina Fork and South Fork of the creek has nice color, and both Sabrina Lake and South Lake too. As mentioned, North Lake is still pretty green.” (Click to enlarge photos)

Surveyor’s Meadow, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

South Lake, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

Weir Pond, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

Sabrina Approach, M. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

Sabrina Approach, M. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

Weir Pond, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surveyor’s Meadow, S. Fork, Bishop Creek (9/23/18) Matthew Pacheco

Approaching Parchers, S. Fork, Bishop Creek (9/23/18) Matthew Pacheco

Approaching Parchers, S. Fork, Bishop Creek (9/23/18) Matthew Pacheco

Approaching Parchers, S. Fork, Bishop Creek (9/23/18) Matthew Pacheco

Matthew “Mizzy” Pacheco, a CaliforniaFallColor.com reader for the past decade (yes, we’re in our tenth season) estimated Lake Sabrina would peak this week, but that “amazing color” would likely last a bit longer, as there was lots of green still to develop.

He also wrote that the ground cover at North Lake “was amazing … best I’ve seen it. But the main groves on the lake level are just starting. Mostly green,” including the large aspen grove seen on the way up. North Lake Road’s famous “leaf tunnel” is only 10 percent there, “though the trees near the 2nd parking pull of just before the tunnel looked amazing.” Beyond that, the groves appear green.

The Groves between Cardinal Village and North lake were beginning to look “kinda magic,” though Pacheco estimates they’ll need another week before darker yellows and oranges appear.

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/24/18) Mark Harding

Color spotter Mark Harding did what few others have done in the past two weeks. He submitted pictures of North Lake. Others probably thought it was worthless to submit photos of North Lake, because it is Patchy. However, Mark’s photograph shows that the aspen gully stretching up 1,000′ from the lake is at Peak. When the Patchy aspen below it peak, they’ll do so quickly and a shot like Elliot McGucken captured (see our scrolling masthead) will be possible at sunset with high clouds.

Note: Tomorrow evening (9/27), at last report, the sky is predicted to be partly cloudy in the Eastern Sierra. Such forecasts are seen in the weather bar on the right of this page. Caution, they do change. Partly cloudy skies provide ideal conditions for sunset photography. Sunset will be at 6:53 p.m. Presently, days are hovering in the 70s with nights in the 30s with colder nights approaching, providing a perfect setup for spectacular color within the next two weeks up Bishop Creek Canyon. Right now, you cannot go wrong heading there and it will be even better next week.

 

N. Fork, Bishop Creek (9/24/18) Mark Harding

N. Fork, Bishop Creek (9/24/18) Mark Harding

Pine Creek Canyon (9/24/18) Gigi de Jong

Pine Creek Pack Station (9/24/18) Gigi de Jong

Pine Creek Canyon – Just Starting (0-10%) 

Color here is provided mostly by “sunshine-yellow rabbitbrush that is in full bloom. The road (leading from the Round Valley north of Bishop) is lined with thick bushes of brilliant yellow flowers.” Gigi felt almost as if driving Pine Creek Canyon Midafternoon in Pine Creek Canyon is still warm and green. The sky is deep blue above the towering walls of the canyon. The sound of the burbling creek flowing below is quiet and soothing. A few cottonwood trees are showing their changing colors, but it the sunshine-yellow rabbitbrush that is in full fall bloom. The road is lined with thick bushes of brilliant yellow flowers. Driving up toward this head of this impressive glacial canyon makes one feel almost triumphant with a fall color guard lining the street.

Habeggers, S. Fork Bishop Creek Approaching Parchers, S. Fork, Bishop Creek (9/23/18) Gigi de Jong

Entrance to Pine Creek Canyon from Round Valley (9/24/18) Gigi de Jong

Lower Rock Creek Canyon – Just Starting (0-10%)

Lower Rock Creek Canyon (north of Bishop in the Round Valley) is still green, but fall color isn’t the reason to visit, right now. Mountain Biking is the reason. As, the Lower Rock Creek trail is the gold standard for mountain biking in the Eastern Sierra. It earns gold for its superior ride. And, once the color turns and also because fall is the golden season in this beautiful narrow canyon. If you go, pack a light camera for the up close and intense experience of sweeping through an arbor of leaves (best when they turn). A winding mountain road runs alongside this creek and trail, which also serves as an auto and motorcycle touring route. Stay tuned for updates on when the fall color is best here. 

Now, the short …

South Fork, Bishop Creek

  • South Lake (9,768′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Wier Pond (9,650′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Parcher’s Resort (9,260′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Willow Campground (9,000′)  – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Surveyor’s Meadow (8,975′)  – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Mist Falls and the Groves Above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Aspendell (8,400′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Middle Fork, Bishop Creek

  • Lake Sabrina (9,150′)- Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Sabrina Approach (9,100′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Sabrina Campground (9,000′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Groves Above Cardinal Village (8,550′) – Patchy (10-50%) – At the high end of Patchy, likely to peak within a week.
  • Four Jeffries (8,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Intake II (8,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Big Trees Campground (7,800′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

North Fork, Bishop Creek

  • North Lake (9,225′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • North Lake Rd (9,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%) – ground covers are the best in years, aspen groves still green

Groves Above Cardinal Village, M. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

, ,

Near Peak – Upper Bishop Creek At Peak – Upper Rock Creek

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

Color spotter Alena Nicholas planned a trip to Bishop Creek Canyon on the day of the autumnal equinox, texting these mobile phone shots of color from Lake Sabrina, Weir Pond and the upper S. Fork where fall color is Near Peak.

Lake Sabrina is demonstrating the family nature of aspen with some stands still green and lime-colored, while others are at full peak in glorious tones of red, orange and yellow. Float fishermen drift across the lake’s wind-brushed surface.

At Weir Pond, between Parcher’s Resort and South Lake and along upper S. Fork, Bishop Creek, aspen now vary from Near Peak to full Peak. A rocky hillside of stunted aspen that forms a backdrop to the shaded pond is a mix of brightly lit yellow and lime. Fly fishing anglers cast for wary trout upon the pond’s still water. (Click photos to enlarge)

Clayton Peoples agreed with Alena Nicholas that Upper Bishop Creek is Near Peak, at least at the highest reaches. He stated, “It all depends on elevation.” On Saturday, he found the color Lake Sabrina and along the road to North Lake. But other areas–including North Lake–have yet to display much color.”

That means Bishop Creek “should remain a great color destination for at least the coming week or two as color works its way down,” Clayton concluded.

He also visited Upper Rock Creek and the trails to Hilton Creek and the Little Lakes Valley, to declare them at full peak and absolutely stunning.

Change happens quickly in the Eastern Sierra and that’s happened within half a week at the highest elevations of these two canyons.

Within a few days, Upper Rock Creek has evolved from Patchy to Peak. While the two areas should continue to improve, you’ve got two weeks at most to see the high areas of these two canyons at peak.

Lake Sabrina is a day or two from being at Peak, and Rock Creek Lake is already there. If these two areas are on your must see at peak list, GO NOW! 

Bishop Creek Canyon – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Rock Creek Lake, Hilton Creek and Little Lakes Valley Trail – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Weir Pond, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/22/18) Alena Nicholas

Lake Sabrina, Sunrise (9/22/18) Clayton Peoples

North Lake Rd. (9/22/18) Clayton Peoples

Upper Rock Creek (9/22/18) Clayton Peoples

Aspen, Lake Sabrina (9/22/18) Toru Takahashi

Lake Sabrina (9/22/18) Toru Takahashi

Lake Sabrina (9/22/18) Toru Takahashi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

,

Bishop Creek Is Up and Running, but Slowly

Groves Above Cardinal Village, M. Fork Bishop Creek, (9/17/18) Jared Smith

Willow Campground, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/17/18) Jared Smith

Surveyor’s Meadow, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/17/18) Jared Smith

Table Mountain, S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/17/18) Jared Smith

North Lake Rd., N. Fork Bishop Creek, (9/17/18) Jared Smith

North Lake Rd, N. Fork Bishop Creek, (9/17/18) Jared Smith

Spotty color is being seen at and above 9,000′ in Inyo County’s Bishop Creek Canyon, where Jared Smith of Parcher’s Resort near South Lake says, “the best of it is at Lake Sabrina along North Lake Rd and along the back side of South Lake.”

Fall color should improve rapidly in upper Bishop Creek Canyon in the coming week, with possible movement from Patchy to Near Peak by next weekend. Though what seems to be holding back quicker change, Jared observes, is that, “It still feels very much like summer up here.”

CaliforniaFallColor predicts that will change quickly, as colder nighttime temperatures have arrived (now sub freezing). Days remain warm (60s and 70s), meaning that the show will soon be awesome. 

South Fork, Bishop Creek

  • South Lake (9,768′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Wier Pond (9,650′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Parcher’s Resort (9,260′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Willow Campground (9,000′)  – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Surveyor’s Meadow (8,975′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Mist Falls and the Groves Above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Aspendell (8,400′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Middle Fork, Bishop Creek

  • Lake Sabrina (9,150′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Sabrina Approach (9,100′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Sabrina Campground (9,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Groves Above Cardinal Village (8,550′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Four Jeffries (8,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Intake II (8,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Big Trees Campground (7,800′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

North Fork, Bishop Creek

  • North Lake (9,225′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • North Lake Rd (9,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Sabrina, M. Fork Bishop Creek (9/18/18) Kathy Smith

North Lake Rd., N. Fork Bishop Creek (9/18/18) Kathy Smith

North Lake Rd., N. Fork Bishop Creek (9/18/18) Kathy Smith

North Lake Rd., N. Fork Bishop Creek (9/18/18) Kathy Smith

,

Eastside Getting Hotter

Cardinal Village (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

Convict Lake (10/7/17) Carol Novacek

Convict Lake (10/7/17) Dave Olden

It’s taken a while for fall color to develop on the Eastside, but signs are that it’s getting hotter, as seen in Ryan Prawiradjaja’s shot of aspen near Cardinal Village (Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County).

Carol Novacek hiked around Convict lake in Mono County on Saturday and found it not as far along as it was last year, though the difference in change in her photos indicate’s it’s getting close to peaking, since I was there on Wednesday.

At the time, only about 25% of the trees at the far end of the lake, below Mt. Morrison, had changed. In the three days since, more than half have turned yellow.

Convict Lake Trail (10/7/17) Herb Hwang

Color spotter Herb Hwang hiked beside Convict Lake to find the aspen 50/50 in lime and yellow. While, Dave Olden found the same, but noticed the lack of oranges and reds.

Convict Lake (7,850′) – Patchy to Near Peak (10-75%) – GO NOW!

Carol found Lundy Canyon, to the north in Mono County, Near Peak and “Glorious!”

Lundy Canyon (7,858′) – Near Peak (50-75%) – GO NOW!

Erick Castellon visited McGee Creek to return with these spectacular shots of peak color along the creek.  The peak color starts above the trailhead parking lot. Down canyon, Near Peak and Patchy conditions exist, meaning that the show will continue for another two weeks at McGee (conditions permitting).

 

 

McGee Creek (10/7/17) Erick Castellon

McGee Creek (10/7/17) Erick Castellon

McGee Creek (8,600′) – Near Peak – GO NOW!

Color spotter Clayton Peoples was among several who reported they traveled to the Eastside, “hitting key fall color spots in Inyo and Mono Counties. Most places–particularly those above 7,000′.”

Here’s what he found:

Upper Rock Creek (9,000′ to 10,300′) – Peak GO NOW! – Similar to what is happening elsewhere, there’s a varied mix of color in the groves, though Upper Rock Creek is a consistent Peak (75%-100%). The area around Rock Creek Lake is especially stunning right now, and a short hike on the Hilton Lakes Trail provides a great introduction to the beautiful color–with Bear Creek Spire and surrounding peaks serving as an awe-inspiring backdrop.

June Lake Loop (7,654′) – Near Peak GO NOW! – There is a lot more variation here than the aforementioned locations–some groves are still sporting lots of green, while others are brimming with yellow and orange glow. As such, Clayton rates the Loop in its entirety as “Near Peak” (50%-75%), but some groves are already Peak (75%-100%). For instance, the grove along the north shore of Silver Lake has peaked, but the aspen lining the south side of June Lake are Near Peak with probably a week to go before Peak.

Sonora Pass, CA-108 (10/8/17) Robert Cherenson

Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) GO NOW! – Sonora Pass (CA-108) is peaking reports Robert Cherenson. He traveled CA-108 finding peak color just west of the pass, two miles east of the pass, at the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station and the U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, near US 395. Spotty salmon-colored and yellow aspen grow along the West Walker River to the town of Walker on US 395.

Aspen, June Lake (10/7/17) Clayton Peoples

June Lake (10/8/17) Michael Brandt

Bishop Creek (8,000′ to 9,768′) – Peak GO NOW! – Most of the canyon has moved dramatically toward peak color, with “the Cardinal Village area is really popping right now. There is a beautiful pond on the property that is surrounded by white granite boulders and aspens–all of which are now peaking out in a vibrant yellow.”

North Lake (9,225′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – North Lake is the problem child of Bishop Creek Canyon. Some color spotters love it, while others say it is done… put a fork in it. As Xin Wang’s sunset photograph of North Lake shows, there are still many green aspen on the hillside above where the aspen are at peak. Though also in the photograph, some stands are now Past Peak. While, along the North Lake Road, it has been peaking, as seen in Peter Robbins’ shot (thumbnail below – click on thumbnail images to enlarge).

Bear Creek Lodge, S. Fork Bishop Creek (10/7/17) Kevin Gilligan

Quaking Aspen, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

Cardinal Village, Bishop Creek (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

Mist Falls, S. Fork Bishop Creek (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pond at Cardinal Village (10/7/17) Clayton Peoples

Bear Creek Spire, Upper Rock Creek (10/7/17) Clayton Peoples

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Xin Wang

Table Mountain Group Camp, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

Conway Summit (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

Sagehen Meadows (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

June Lake Loop (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

Silver Lake (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

South Lake Rd. near Parchers, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

North Lake Turnoff (10/7/17) Peter Robbins

,

Bishop Creek Futures

Gold Pan – Clearview Stock | Dreamstime

This doesn’t seem to be the autumn to be investing in gold, at least up Bishop Creek. As, that commodity – among the aspen – is in short supply.

A call to Jared Smith at Parcher’s Resort this morning was disheartening, at least for the moment. He reported that the snow that fell last week knocked newly turned leaves from the aspen. And, he was “not impressed” by what is left, for now.

If you’ve missed Jared’s reports, its because he hasn’t been able to take pictures, as the battery charger for his Nikon D7000 is missing. So, travel writer/photographer Lee Foster and I will be traveling there on Monday to bring him one and see what we can capture in all the canyons from Bishop north to Mammoth Lakes.

If you’d planned to photograph or visit Bishop Creek Canyon this weekend, don’t put it off. There still will be beautiful color, but probably not up to “Ohmigosh, I can’t believe this is happening” expectations.

Groves at Cardinal Village (9/29/17) Rick Aeschliman

The best areas of fall color in Bishop Creek Canyon, presently, are: Lake Sabrina (high above the lake) and at Groves Above Cardinal Village (Near Peak). Most of the upper areas are patchy with muted orange and gold tones. Peak color can also be found near Mono Lake at Sagehen Meadows (use the California Fall Color Map at right for directions).

Though, do not let this limited selection discourage you from traveling. Fall color has progressed in Bishop Creek Canyon from patchy to full peak within a few days. Right now is when it has peaked in recent years, and at least two areas of the canyon are Near Peak, so GO NOW!

So, despite the disappointing reports, I’m not putting off my trip. I’m a Californian and we don’t get discouraged if we don’t find gold the first time we put a pan in the water. We just keep panning, as we know it’s there to be found.

Southern Inyo County

Whitney Portal (8,374’) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Onion Valley (9,600’) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Big Pine Creek (7,660’) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery (4,000’) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Alabama Hills (4,534’) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Northern Inyo County

Weir Pond (9,650’) – Patchy (10 – 50%)

Sabrina Campground (9,000’) – Just Starting (0 – 10%)

Willow Campground (9,000’) – Just Starting (0 – 10%)

Table Mountain Camp (8,900’)- Patchy (10 – 50%) – Table Mountain and Surveyor’s Meadow seem to have the best color along South Lake Road, for the moment.

Surveyors Meadow (8,975’) – Patchy (10 – 50%)

Lake Sabrina (9150ft) – Patchy (10 – 50%) to Peak (75-100%) –Peak color is seen high above Lake Sabrina in groves of aspen growing near 10,000’. However, it has not yet descended to lake level. GO NOW!

North Lake (9,255’) – Patchy (10 – 50%)

Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350’) – Just Starting (0 – 10%)

Aspendell (8,400’) – Just Starting (0 – 10%)

Groves above Cardinal Village (8,550’) – Near Peak (50-75%) – The stunted and weathered aspen here are normally notoriously early, but not this year. Presently, they are a deep orange color and should peak in the coming week. GO NOW!

Four Jeffries (8,000’) – Just Starting (0 – 10%)

Intake II (8,000’) – Just Starting (0 – 10%)

Big Trees Campground (7,800’) – Just Starting (0 – 10%)

, ,

It All Begins at 1:02 p.m. Today

Autumn begins throughout California at 1:02 p.m.

That’s when the autumnal equinox occurs, starting a new astronomical season. At that moment, the sun’s rays are almost equally divided between the northern and southern hemisphere.

Thereafter and continuing to the winter solstice on Dec. 21, days get shorter and colder, as the amount of sunlight reaching the northern hemisphere declines.

Less light results in less chlorophyll being produced in deciduous plants. As the green chlorophyl subsides underlying brown, red, orange and yellow colors are seen. Colder temperatures also intensify red, orange and yellow colors. Though, eventually, the leaves weaken and fall.

Autumn is the only season with two names: Autumn and Fall. It gets the latter from those falling leaves.

Many believe California’s best weather occurs in autumn. Days remain clement, but nights are cooler. There’s a crispness in the air, but also a soothing envelopment that almost feels as if you’re being embraced by the season.

Why is it that there is such celebration when pumpkin-spiced lattes return to cafe menus in autumn?  Is it their taste, or the recollections of this gathering season that they inspire?

Autumn is the season of harvest, reunion, tailgating, wine making, costume parties, sweaters and thanksgiving. Though it would not be what it is, without Fall.

Over the past couple of days, snow has fallen in the High Sierra. Several of you have asked what effect the early snow might have on autumn color. The answer is: “Little to No Effect.”

Snow usually only damages the change of color on leaves that have turned color or have nearly turned color. Leaves that are vibrant and still producing chlorophyl shake off a little snow with no effect on the color. However, were the same to occur at an elevation that was near peak to peak, leaves in the process of turning would either be spotted or blown from their branches.

Rock Creek Canyon (9/22/17) Will Ridgeway

Rock Creek Canyon (9/22/17) Will Ridgeway

Will Ridgeway took these photographs near Rock Creek Pack Station yesterday morning.

He writes that “The snow on green Aspen leaves makes it look like we’re going straight from Summer to Winter, though that’s temporary.

“That said, there was a good amount of colour above Lake Sabrina this morning, roughly equal parts green, yellow and orange depending on the location of each grove.” he describes.

Lake Sabrina – Near Peak (75-100%) – Will Ridgeway rates the upper groves high above Sabrina Lake near 10,000′ in elevation as nearing peak. GO NOW!

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County (9/22/17) Bruce Wendler

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County – Patchy (10-50%) – Color spotter Bruce Wendler found “the first fire of autumn” lighting the hills around Sagehen Meadow, south of Mono Lake. Frigid temperatures are stimulating vibrant color change in high areas of Mono County.

Unidentified exotic tree, Downtown LA near Fig Plaza (9/21/17) Mohammad Delwar

Los Angeles – Just Starting (0-10%) – Often what appears to be autumnal change is not exactly the same thing. Del Hossain saw this blooming tree in downtown Los Angeles yesterday and had the presence of mind to photograph it and ask if it might be fall color.

This is one of the myriad of non-native (or exotic) trees that have been planted in our urban forests. It has a flower or seed pod (similar to a Bougainvillea bloom) that Del described as “a splash of pinks, reds,or orangish”.

What is most important is that Del turned a break while working in the heart of Los Angeles (Downtown Magnets High School – Go Suns!) into an inspirational fall color sojourn.  Fall color creds to anyone who can identify the tree, and to Del for sharing.