Posts

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Coffee Creek Perks

Pacific dogwood, Coffee Creek, Trinity County (10/21/18) Jeri Rangel

Bigleaf maple, Coffee Creek, Trinity County (10/21/18) Jeri Rangel

Trinity County’s Coffee Creek is beginning to perk with pink Pacific dogwood, yellow bigleaf maple and orange-red Indian rhubarb peaking concurrently.

In other parts of California, dogwood and Indian rhubarb have peaked, but at Coffee Creek, it’s still possible to find forests blushing with their colors. 

  • Coffee Creek (3,068′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Fremont cottonwood, Strawhouse Resort, Trinity River (10/23/18) Julia Ellis

Indian rhubarb, Coffee Creek, Trinity County (10/21/18) Jeri Rangel

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Indian Rhubarb – Darmera

Indian rhubarb, Rock Creek, Meadow Valley (10/18/18) Michael Beatley

Indian rhubarb, Rock Creek, Meadow Valley (10/18/18) Michael Beatley

Indian rhubarb, Rock Creek, Meadow Valley (10/18/18) Michael Beatley

Indian rhubarb, Rock Creek, Meadow Valley (10/18/18) Michael Beatley

One of California’s most spectacular native plants is Darmera, or Indian Rhubarb.

With its large, umbrella formed, orange-red leaves, it is spectacular when contrasted with wild blue streams and lush riparian foliage in the Shasta Cascade.

Plumas County color spotter, Michael Beatley visited “Rock Creek in Meadow Valley, which flows into Spanish Creek, which flows into the North Fork of the Feather River, which flows into the Sacramento river and on to San Francisco Bay.” Rock Creek and Spanish Creek were gold mining creeks in the 1860s.

To get to the most colorful examples of Darmera beside these creeks, you’ll need to hike to them. Begin by driving six miles west of Quincy along Bucks Lake Road toward Meadow Valley.

“Just before the park,” Michael explains (which park, he never said – but we figure there must be only one), “turn left onto the USFS dirt road at the sign that reads, ‘Deans Valley, Meadow Camp 2 miles.’ At the bridge is Meadow Camp, a National Forest campground which lies beside Rock Creek.  Hike downstream.  There are no trails; forge your own. The Indian Rhubarb is at Peak and just Past Peak. Gold pan, if you like. Best time is 10 a.m., as the sun crests the tree tops hitting the water. The  campground is dry and free. The road is dirt, bumpy, but accessible by car. This is a hiking spot for fall color, not a drive by.”

I tried to find the camp on Google maps, but could not. You’ll have to trust Michael’s directions to find it. This may just be the time to pack along a copy of the 3rd Edition of NOLS Wilderness Navigation by Gene Trantham and Darran Wells.

It’s NOLS’ official guide to finding your way in the outdoors, since no bread crumbs were otherwise left by Michael to follow. 

Indian rhubarb, Rock Creek, Meadow Valley (10/18/18) Michael Beatley

  • Indian Rhubarb, Rock Creek, Meadow Valley – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

 

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Ordered To Appear

Sugar maple, Thompson Ranch, LaPorte Rd., Quincy (10/14/18) Michael Beatley

The Thieler Tree, Quincy (10/14/18) Michael Beatley

You are hereby ordered to appear at the Plumas County Courthouse in Quincy to attest that trees surrounding the court are Near Peak.

Now that you have been duly served, what can you expect to see?

Towering maple, plane trees and elm, anytime from now through this weekend and the following week, depending on conditions. The trees will be glorious, carrying heavy loads of orange, red and lime.

Local color spotters Michael Beatley and Jeff Luke Titcomb report that Quincy’s most photographed maple, The Theiler Tree at the former residence of Judge Alan Theiler, is red-hot and not-to-be-missed. It’s on West High Street and Lee Way, behind the courthouse.

Other great spots to photograph in and surrounding Quincy, include Community United Methodist Church at 282 Jackson St. This white steepled church is backed by black oak, when at peak (it’s still early) are deep orange (seen below in the UpStateCA graphic).

Plumas County Courthouse, Quincy (10/14/18) Michael Beatley

Plumas County Courthouse, Quincy (10/14/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Spanish Creek at Oakland Camp (10/14/18) Michael Beatley

Thompson Lake, near Bucks Lake, Plumas County (10/15/18) Michael Beatley

Along LaPorte Rd. look for Thompson Ranch and its landmark sugar maple, which is now peaking. In fact all the sugar maples in town are a rich orange-cream color.

The Indian rhubarb at Spanish Creek in Oakland camp are now peaking at 3,500′, so get there quick to see their bright red-orange umbrella-shaped leaves reflected in the creek’s still waters.

More reflections of aspen are seen at Thompson Lake west of Quincy near Buck’s Lake.

Jeff Luke Titcomb said most of Plumas County’s fall color backroads can be driven in a normal passenger vehicle. To prove it, he sent a photo of his classic Cadillac DeVille that he drove on a spotting trip to Round Valley.

He described, “The road away from Almanor is gravel and well maintained. Some days, though, you’ll be sharing it with logging trucks. The color down in the ravines is full of dogwoods and the springs are running pretty strong with lots of yellow maples, the oaks are coming on too, now. You will need to stop and explore the canyon’s full of color, which is getting very strong now.”

Be sure to appear by your appointed court date and time (not to late in the day), or you could miss Peak color in and around Quincy. 

  • Quincy (3,432′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

 

Dogwood, Plumas County (10/13/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Bigleaf maple, Plumas County (10/13/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Bigleaf maple and willow, Plumas County (10/13/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Plumas County Courthouse  (10/14/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Quincy, Plumas County (10/14/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Quincy, Plumas County (10/14/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Sugar maple, Quincy, Plumas County (10/14/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Sugar maple, Quincy, Plumas County (10/14/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Sugar maple, Plumas County (10/13/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, Plumas County (10/13/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Plumas County Courthouse  (10/14/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Quincy, Plumas County (10/14/18) 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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Indian Rhubarb’s Showy Start

Indian Rhubarb, Big Creek, Plumas County (9/16/18) Michael Beatley

Indian Rhubarb, Darmera peltata, is a showy plant that lives along streams in the Northern Sierra.

Plumas County color spotter Michael Beatley reports the plant has started to show its iridescent colors along Big Creek, between Meadow Valley and Bucks lake, in Plumas National Forest.

Michael says Indian Rhubarb leaves this year are “huge,” and should be gorgeous in two weeks.

To find it, take Big Creek Rd towards Bucks lake. 

Just Starting (0-10%) – Indian Rhubarb, Plumas County (3,600′)

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More Photographic Perspectives

Black oak, bigleaf maple, Hayfork (10/21/17) Laura Jean

Fridays are a quiet day to catch up on posting photographs that arrived too late to be included in a timely fall color report. The first selection is of photographs taken by Laura Jean near Hayfork along CA-3, two weeks ago.

The color seen in these images has long since fallen, though her shots provide perspective about what it was like to drive the Trinity Heritage Scenic Byway in late October. Click on photo to enlarge.

Hayfork, Trinity Heritage Scenic Byway (CA-3) – Past Peak – You Missed It.

Bigleaf maple, Hayfork (10/21/17) Laura Jean

Bigleaf maple, Hayfork (10/21/17) Laura Jean

Dogwood, Hayfork (10/21/17) Laura Jean

Black oak, Hayfork (10/21/17) Laura Jean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black oak, Hayfork (10/21/17) Laura Jean

California ash, Hayfork (10/21/17) Laura Jean

Bigleaf maple, Hayfork (10/21/17) Laura Jean

Dogwood, Hayfork (10/21/17) Laura Jean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, here is a selection of images contributed by Dona Montuori-Whitaker in mid October. They arrived too late to be posted in a timely fashion, but are now in order to show additional views of Plumas County.

What is particularly striking about the Shasta Cascade region are the number of old wooden bridges, barns and cabins that have aged beautifully and contrast so emotionally with fall color.

Plumas County – Past Peak – You Missed It.

Maple, Quincy (10/16/17) Dona Montuori-Whitaker

Genesee Valley (10/16/17) Dona Montuori-Whitaker

Indian rhubarb, Keddie (10/16/17) Dona Montuori-Whitaker

Long Valley Creek Bridge, Sloat (10/16/17) Dona Montuori-Whitaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shed, Indian Falls (10/16/17) Dona Montuori-Whitaker

Taylorsville School (10/16/17) Dona Montuori-Whitaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fallen maple, cottonwood and dogwood leaves, Yosemite National Park (11/1/17) Tracy Zhou

As reported here on the day Tracy Zhou took these photos, peak color has shifted from bigleaf maple, dogwood and cottonwood to black oak in Yosemite National Park.

Black oak, Yosemite Valley (11/1/17) Tracy Zhou

Black oak, Yosemite Valley (11/1/17) Tracy Zhou

Black oak, Yosemite Valley (11/1/17) Tracy Zhou

Black oak, Yosemite Valley (11/1/17) Tracy Zhou

Yosemite Valley (11/1/17) Tracy Zhou

Black oak, Yosemite Valley (11/1/17) Tracy Zhou

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Cascade Trail to Spanish Creek

Bigleaf Maple, Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley

Plumas County color spotter Michael Beatley hiked the Cascade Trail beside Spanish Creek toward Quincy, yesterday, discovering one beautiful reflection after another.

He wrote, “The area has a profusion of color and reflections, with Indian Rhubarb, Bigleaf maple, black oak and grasses providing the color.”

Spanish Creek is along the trail to the Cascades. It runs into the North Fork of the Feather River, which continues down to the Sacramento River and the Delta.

Michael advises that mornings (9 to 10 a.m.) are best for light and reflection photographs at Spanish Creek.

Daytime temperatures are in the 60s with nights in the 20s to 30s, blue skies and a lot of clear, rushing water and still blue lakes.

Plumas County has been spared the haze caused by this autumn’s wildfires.  So, skies are blue, windless and smokeless.

Spanish Creek, Plumas County (2,000′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley

Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley

Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley

Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley

 

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Plumas County Comes Out to Play

Dogwood, Plumas County (10/5/16) Mike Nellor

Dogwood, Plumas County (10/5/16) Mike Nellor

So much attention is given to the Eastern Sierra at the start of each autumn, that Plumas County must feel like the last kid picked to play. But, when Plumas County eventually steps up, it plays big.

At the northern end of the Sierra Nevada, and part of Califoria’s vast Shasta Cascade tourism region, Plumas County is a major leaguer in its own right.

Bigleaf maple, Plumas County (10/5/16) Mike Nellor

Bigleaf maple, Plumas County (10/5/16) Mike Nellor

Indian Rhubarb, Plumas County (10/5/16) Mike Nellor

Indian Rhubarb, Plumas County (10/5/16) Mike Nellor

The Eastern Sierra has quaking aspen and, well, cottonwood and willows.  But Plumas? It’s got aspen, bigleaf maple, cottonwood, black oak, dogwood, willow, alder and gloriously showy Indian rhubarb.

The Eastern Sierra presents grand landscapes, while Plumas has rural charm… white steepled churches embraced by deep orange oaks, barns sitting in a sea of color and those rhubarb draped over the edges and reflected in still streams.

Mike Nellor, a local photographer and color spotter reports that the show is just emerging in Plumas County, with its capital city, Quincy now coloring up at nearby Oakland Camp and the rhubarb, as reported last week, are turning firey orange-red.

Plumas is in the game and out to play.

Plumas County – Patchy (10-50%)

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Indian Rhubarb Begins Its Firey-Orange Show

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Sharon Roberts of the St. Bernard Lodge (10 mi. west of Chester/Lake Almanor) reports that the Indian Rhubarb (Darmera peltata) – also known as the umbrella plant – have begun their showy fall display of firey orange beside Deer Creek in the Shasta Cascade.

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Indian Rhubarb, Deer Creek, CA-32 (9/25/16) Sharon Roberts

Deer Creek runs beside portions of CA-32, approximately 50 miles east of Chico. Enter the “Alder Creek Campground” in your nav device to find it. At elevation 3,900′, Deer Creek is 20 miles west of Chester.

Along its banks the fan-leaved plant turns bright orange-red at peak in early October. Presently the color is at the low end of Patchy, though examples of brilliant color can be found.

They provide dramatic contrast to nearby yellow bigleaf maple and orange black oak. Indian rhubarb is one of California’s most colorful and distinctive autumn plants and its most beautiful populations are found in Tehama and Plumas Counties.

Continuing northeast on CA-32, the road intersects CA-36. Turn left and you’re about ten miles from Lassen Volcanic National Park with its crimson knot weed, gold-orange Lemmon’s willow, yellow alder and golden cottonwood.

Turn right and you travel toward Chester.  If you pass through Chester and continue east, you reach Susanville where colorful foliage grows beside the Susan River.

Turn south along the west shore of Lake Almanor (before reaching Chester) and you head toward the Indian Valley and Quincy, prime color viewing areas in the northern Sierra Nevada.

For more about planning a visit to the area, CLICK HERE and to camp at Alder Creek, CLICK HERE, and to stay at St. Bernard Lodge, CLICK HERE.

Alder Creek Campground, CA-32 (3,900′) – Patchy (10-50%) 

 

Colorful Week in California

S Fork Bishop Creek (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

S Fork Bishop Creek (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Steve Wolfe spent his Saturday in Bishop Creek Canyon where he took these photos of the color.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Oak Lake, Granite Bay (9/27/14) John Poimiroo

Oak Lake, Granite Bay (9/27/14) John Poimiroo

Sabrina Lake (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Sabrina Lake (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Heavenly Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe is reporting three inches of new snow, but the snows appear to have missed the Eastern Sierra, as evidenced by Steve Wolfe’s shots of Surveyor’s Meadow and Sabrina Lake.

At Oak Lake in Granite Bay this liquidambar was indicating the color it usually presents in November.

This past week, Valerie Nellor sent this lovely shot of Indian Rhubarb, which had us reflecting on the great color yet to appear in Plumas County.

North Lake Anglers (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

North Lake Anglers (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

Red Aspen, Bishop Creek (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

Red Aspen, Bishop Creek (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

And, we had to share two lovely moments that Kimberly Kofala captured a week ago in Bishop Creek Canyon.

Indian Rhubarb (9/25/14) Valerie Nellor

Indian Rhubarb (9/25/14) Valerie Nellor