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Dogwood and Bigleaf Maple Paint Yosemite

Dogwood, Bigleaf Maple, Yosemite National Park (10/11/17) Michael Caffey

Splashes of bright pink and yellow are painting the hillsides of Yosemite National Park.

Siesta Lake, Yosemite National Park (10/11/17) Michael Caffey

Ranger Allen of the National Park Service public affairs office said a general estimate would be that about half the deciduous trees in Yosemite Valley are now showing color, though the famous eastern sugar maple near Yosemite Chapel is at full peak. GO NOW! as peak on this tree is very short lived. It’ll be gone next week.

Yosemite’s color comes primarily from willows (orange), dogwood (rose), bigleaf maple (yellow) and black oak (orange). The black oak are the last to change – typically around Halloween.

Colorful reflections of yellow, rose and orange can be seen in lakes and the Merced River where trees are near the water.

Caffey’s photograph of Siesta Lake is reminiscent of Ansel Adams’ photograph of the same water, taken in 1958. In both images, the fallen remains of a tree lies in the same lake. There, of course, the similarity ends, as an original gelatin silver print by Adams is sold by  The Ansel Adams Gallery for $9,500.

The best location for fall color viewing in the national park is Yosemite Valley, with favorite spots being Fern Spring (at the entrance to the Valley), riparian areas in the Valley and Superintendent’s meadow and the base of Yosemite Falls.

Yosemite National Park (4,000′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – All species except black oak are now peaking. Black oak will peak at the end of October.  GO NOW!

Caffey continued across Tioga Pass to the Eastern Sierra, reporting:

South Lake Rd. (10/12/17) Michael Caffey

Mono County

Lee Vining Canyon – Peak (75-100%) – On the drive down from Tuolumne Meadows, foliage in Lee Vining Canyon is at full peak. The aspen in this area are in the best shape of any Caffey saw, having benefitted greatly from last winter’s heavy snows.  The deer have come out of the mountains to winter at lower elevations, so look for them amid the Aspen. GO NOW!
Lundy Canyon -Peak (75-100%) – Fall color is pretty consistent; pretty much everywhere you look the Aspens have turned.  This is a must-do, now.By next weekend you’ll have missed it. GO NOW!

June Lake Loop – Peak (75-100%) – Michael has been visiting June Lake for years, but classifies it right now as the nicest “I’ve ever seen there.  It is definitely at peak so this is the best weekend to go there, but there are a few areas where Aspen are still green, so I’d say you’ll find something interesting there for another 10 days.” GO NOW!

Inyo County – Bishop Creek Canyon

North Lake – Past Peak – You Missed It.
Sabrina Lake -Past Peak – You Missed It. –  There are spots of nice color along Sabrina Approach, but in a couple of days they will all be gone.
Aspendell – Peak (75-100%) – Aspendell is the Show Stopper in Bishop Creek Canyon for the moment.  The trees have been very healthy, full of leaves and draped with color. GO NOW!

South Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/12/17) Michael Caffey

South Lake Road – Peak to Past Peak  – Surprisingly, there is still good color along the road to South Lake.  Parts are past peak but some other areas are still very nice.  Still worth a trip up there at least this weekend. You Almost Missed It.

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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

Surveyor’s Meadow – Near Peak to Peak

(South Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon – 10/3/17) Although there is lots of green along South Lake Road in Bishop Creek Canyon, the combination of full peak, near peak and patchy color at midday is spectacular and well worth the trip. GO NOW!

 

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Weekend Geography Assignment: Bishop Creek

Surveyor's Meadow, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Surveyor’s Meadow, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Robert Provin knows his geography. He ought to.  As, he works in the Department of Geography at Cal State Northridge.

This weekend, Robert knew just where to go to find fall color… the Eastern Sierra.

He found it to be Near Peak along South Lake Road and at Lake Sabrina in Bishop Creek Canyon (west of Bishop). Robert has promised to return in a couple of weeks, “to see how things have progressed.”

Quaking Aspen, Sabrina Approach (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, Sabrina Approach (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, South Fork, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, South Fork, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, South Fork, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, South Fork, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin