Posts

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Freeway of Love

Bigleaf maple, Moccasin, CA-89, Plumas County (10/27/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, CA-89, Crescent Mills (10/27/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

There’s something about taking a long, slow weekend drive in a classic Cadillac, especially on a beautiful autumn day.

Roll down the windows and take in the sweet smells of autumn leaves as they tumble about you.

I recall drives like that in my mother’s two-toned mint/forest green ’56 Sedan de Ville with satin brocade seats.

Dad had gotten it for a song after it was returned to a dealership when its sale went bad.  Suddenly, everyone thought we were rich and snooty. Neither was true, though mom liked to pretend that we had more than we really had.

Indian Creek, CA-89, Crescent MIlls, Plumas County (10/27/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

To a kid, mom’s Cadillac was magical. The lights would dim automatically when cars approached. In other cars, the driver would stomp on a floorboard button to dim them. The gas cap was hidden under one of the tail lights. You pushed a reflector to open the fin-shaped dome. And, at 214.5 inches long, there was plenty of leg room for a kid, two kids, three kids, a whole Pack of Cub Scouts, and no seat belts.

In the ’60s, Cadillac was the automotive brand most mentioned in songs. I found a couple of dozen songs that mentioned or were about Caddys, before I gave up counting. Cadillac still holds the number three position for most songs ever written about a car, and they’re some of the best songs ever written. Sure, Brian Wilson wrote “Little Honda,” which is a great song, but it’s about a motorbike, not about a Civic.

So, what do my reminiscences about Cadillacs have to do with fall color? Only that Plumas County color spotter Jeff Luke Titcomb is like me. He knows there’s little in life better than listening to old songs as you slow-drive an oldie-but-goodie down a country road past fall color. And, he did it along the backroads and byways of Plumas County in his classic Caddy, this weekend. 

Now, let’s roll down the window, let that warm/crisp autumn air blow our cares away and listen as Aretha sings …

“Oh, we got some places to see
I brought all the maps with me
So jump right in, it ain’t no sin
Take a ride in my machine
 … “

— Aretha Franklin, Freeway of Love

  • Indian Valley, Plumas County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Round Valley, Plumas County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Black oak, Round Valley Reservoir, Greenville, Plumas County (10/27/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

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Less To Cheer About

June Lake Loop (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

McGee Creek (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Color spotters may have less to cheer about Sunday afternoon, should strong winds (20 – 30 mph) blow across the High Sierra and Cascades, as now predicted.

Locations shown in this article were photographed within the past week. Today (Fri., Oct. 26), tomorrow (Sat., Oct 27) and Sunday morning (Oct. 28) may be the last days to raise your arms in celebration at these locations, if it is windy on Sunday afternoon.

So, if you wanted to see peak color this autumn at Mono County, Lake Tahoe or Plumas County, change your plans and GO NOW! 

McGee Creek (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Convict Lake (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

In anticipation of changing peak areas, we’ve shifted the weather forecast on this site from Mammoth Lakes to Quincy. When judging weather (temp., precip., wind), please keep this in mind.

Should high winds arrive Sunday afternoon, peaked leaves will be stripped quickly from the trees and the peak color you see in these photos will be gone.

That does not mean, however, that California’s autumn show will end.

Trees still carrying green, lime or freshly yellow leaves will not lose many from the wind. And, areas not yet at Peak will continue to develop fall color. They include the: Western Sierra (Yosemite NP, Sequoia NP, Kings Canyon NP, Calaveras Big Trees SP) , Southern California mountains, Trinity County, North Coast, Gold Country, all wine country regions, Central Valley orchards and California’s urban forests.

Nevertheless, if you want to see June Lake, Lake Tahoe, or Plumas County this autumn, get there before Sunday afternoon. Any later and we may be reporting, YOU MISSED IT! 

Conway Summit (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

(10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Conway Summit (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Beaver Ponds, Lundy Canyon (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Aspen, June Lake Loop (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Cyclists, June Lake Loop (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Silver Lake, June Lake Loop (10/24/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twin Lakes, Mono County (10/21/18) Rodney Chai

Conway Summit (10/21/18) Rodney Chai

McGee Creek Canyon (10/21/18) Rodney Chai

McGee Creek Campground (10/21/18) Rodney Chai

Lundy Canyon (10/20/18) Crys Black

Upper Summers Meadow (10/20/18) Crys Black

Upper Summers Meadow (10/20/18) Crys Black

Twin Lakes, Mono County (10/20/18) Crys Black

Luther Pass, CA-89 (10/20/18) John King

Luther Pass, CA-89 (10/20/18) John King

Luther Pass, CA-89 (10/20/18) John King

Black oak, Greenville (10/21/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, Greenville (10/21/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, Hideaway Motel, Greenville (10/21/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, Hideaway Motel, Greenville (10/21/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Indian Falls: Short Hike 4 Color

Black oak, Indian Falls (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Indian rhubarb, Indian Falls (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

It’s a short hike from CA-89 to Indian Falls. So short, that Jeff Luke Titcomb walked there for a picnic lunch.

Indian Falls is a popular summer swimming hole (be cautious of ankle grabbing rocks), but in autumn it’s a convenient spot for a quick get away.

Black oak (Quercus kelloggii) that have grown between cracks among the boulders like larger bonsai trees, have turned bright red and orange. Mid October is an early Peak for black oak, which is more a Halloween tree.

In comparison, the bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) and Indian rhubarb (Darmera) near the creek are Patchy. Still, it’s worth the hike to see the oaks and enjoy a bit of solitude by Indian Creek. 

  • Black oak, Indian Falls (3,202′) – Peak – (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Indian rhubarb and Bigleaf maple, Indian Falls (3,202′) – Patchy (10-50%)

Indian Falls (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, Indian Falls (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, Indian Falls (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Indian rhubarb, Indian Falls (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Indian rhubarb, Indian Falls (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Indian rhubarb, Indian Falls (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

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Sweet As Can Be

Sugar maple, Hideaway Rd., Greenville (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Sugar maple, Hideaway Rd., Greenville (10/12/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Sugar maples (Acer saccharum) are sweet to the eye. Perhaps that’s why so many were planted in Plumas County.

This particular specimen sugars the scenery along Hideaway Rd. in Greenville.

Leaves of the sugar maple can evolve in color through a full spectrum from dark green to lime, to yellow-green, to yellow, to yellow-orange, to orange, red and burgundy, during autumn.

Though numerous of the exotic trees have been planted in Quincy, Greenville and other Plumas County towns (Northern Sierra), none seem to have naturalized, leading a UC Davis botanist, with whom we consulted, to conclude that planting one is not likely to interfere with the growth of native trees. 

Sugar Maples, Plumas County (3,586′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! 

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Color or B&W?

Black oak, Hideaway Rd., Greenville (10/29/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, Hideaway Rd., Greenville (10/29/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Jeff Luke Titcomb reports that black oak are peaking in Greenville (Plumas County) along Hideaway Rd.

Nancy Hull found red, orange, yellow and lime ash peaking near the Colusa Unified School playground.

Jeff says the oak look good even without their color. Which do you prefer: color, or black & white?

Greenville, Plumas County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Colusa – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

 

 

Ash, Colusa Unified School (10/29/17) Nancy Hull

 

 

 

Ash, Colusa Unified School (10/29/17) Nancy Hull

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Storm Arriving

Truckee River (10/19/17) Herb Huang

Foray Rd., Greenville, Plumas County (10/18/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Locations like these, shot by Herb Huang and Jeff Luke Titcomb, will be overcast for the next 24-hours as a storm passes over Northern California.

The storm will blow turned leaves from most trees, but it won’t denude them.

Lots of color will remain, particularly on trees that were nearing peak, as they still have the strength in the leaves to, as Avril Lavigne would sing…

Keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you
There’s nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through

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Plumas County Fills With Color

Bigleaf maple, Plumas County (9/30/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Plumas County color spotter Jeff Luke Titcomb took a road trip in search of fall color.

Bigleaf maple, Plumas County (9/30/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Wild Locust, Plumas County (9/30/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Dogwood, Plumas County (9/30/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Plumas County, Plumas County (9/30/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Dogwood, Plumas County (9/30/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

He rode along Hideaway Road and Round Valley Road to the Round Valley reservoir, then up from there to the top, and back down to Canyon Dam near Lake Almanor.

He found the Canyon Dam side not as far along with weeks to go until peak color. Though the dogwoods are coming along and bigleaf maples are half way there.

River bottoms along Wolf Creek in Greenville are full of yellows and reds beside Hideaway Road.

A tree that is often confused (wild locust) are in full yellow. Jeff reports that the higher you go in the area,  the longer it seems the color will take to peak, though the valley floor is turning fast.

Plumas County (3,500’) – Patchy (10-50%)

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Greenville… No Longer Green

Black oak, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Black oak, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Near Round Valley Reservoir, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Near Round Valley Reservoir, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Bigleaf maple, Round Valley Reservoir, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Bigleaf maple, Round Valley Reservoir, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood approaching Round Valley Reservoir, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood approaching Round Valley Reservoir, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Black oak and bigleaf maple, Indian Creek, (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood and bigleaf maple, Indian Creek, (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood, Round Valley Reservoir, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood, Round Valley Reservoir, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Hideaway Road, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Hideaway Road, Greenville (10/16/16) Jeff Titcomb

Greenville in the Northern Sierra of Plumas County is hardly living up to its name any longer, as fall color is accenting the town with auburn, crimson, pink, hot orange, umber, yellow, buff and lime splashes.

There are so many bright colors to be seen that, for the next three weeks, we propose that Greenville be renamed, “Crayolaville.”

Color spotter Jeff Luke Titcomb traveled Plumas County’s byways to return with these images of what’s happening up north.

He found dogwood, bigleaf maple and black oak providing the predominant colors and reports, “The valley is dropping leaves but the canyon roads are beautiful and holding strong.

“Oaks and dogwoods still have time for color change, the big leaf maples are at full color now.”

Give Greenville three weeks of awesome color.

Greenville, Plumas County – Near Peak (50-100%) GO NOW!

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How Big is Big?

Bigleaf maple, Indian Creek (11/4/15) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Bigleaf maple, Indian Creek (11/4/15) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Indian Creek (11/4/15) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Indian Creek (11/4/15) Jeff Luke Titcomb

When it comes to California bigleaf maple, how Big is big?

Jeff Luke Titcomb reports that bigleaf maple leaves along Indian Creek in Plumas County are as big as “8” wide and equally as long.”

The big leaves are still bright yellow along creeks and river bottoms near Greenville.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Indian Creek, Plumas County 

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Shasta Cascade – Fire and Ice (Hike of the Week)

Knotweed, Cliff Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/12/15) Shanda Ochs

Knotweed, Cliff Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/12/15) Shanda Ochs

Knotweed, Cliff Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/12/15) Shanda Ochs

Knotweed, Cliff Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/12/15) Shanda Ochs

This past week, a dusting of snow atop Lassen Peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park closed the park road, but that was short lived, as many of these early dustups tend to be in California.

Park Guide Shanda Ochs sends the above photo of firey red knotweed, photographed of the meadow on the trail northeast of Cliff Lake in the national park on Sept. 12.  She reported, “In the past, this color typically holds for quite some time before leaves fall off. I don’t know if this will be the case this year.”

Shanda notes, “It appears that the aspen lost leaves early due to the lack of water. There was a very short period that they were in full color, but lost the leaves quickly. I don’t think we will see the fall color that is typical year after year, based on the lack of water.”

The bright color have encouraged CaliforniaFallColor.com to name the Cliff Lake trail in Lassen Volcanic National Park as our first Hike of the Week in 2015.

Alder and Willow, Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/21/15) Shanda Ochs

Alder and willow, Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (9/21/15) Shanda Ochs

At Manzanita Lake, the willows beside the lake have turned chartreuse and orange-yellow, though among the alder there is no “stand out color yet, and we may not see that either because of the lack of water.”  Shanda notes, “But we still have time there. ”

Bigleaf maple, Plumas County (9/20/15) Jeff Titcomb

Bigleaf maple, Plumas County (9/20/15) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood, Plumas County (9/20/15) Jeff Titcomb

Dogwood, Plumas County (9/20/15) Jeff Titcomb

In Plumas County, color spotters Lisa May and Jeff Titcomb reports that bigleaf maple “are just barely getting into color change, but again dry weather is causing browning and falling leaves before they have the chance to change color.” Jeff predicts there will be weeks more of color in the beautiful Indian Valley. About 25% of the dogwood have begun to color their trademark rose to red tones.

Patchy (10-50%) – Lassen Volcanic National Park – Drought has shortened the show among some aspen that have begun to turn, though most of the forest has not and should turn on schedule. Lassen Volcanic NP is one location where looking down is recommended to see fall color juxtaposed to dramatic grand landscapes in the distance, as seen in Shanda’s photographs.

Patchy (10-50%) – Round Valley, Plumas County – About a quarter of the bigleaf maple at the Round Valley Reservoir near Greenville have begun to turn.  Some of the big leaves are drying quickly, once they turn. Similarly, dogwood are showing their rosy blush.