NORTHERN SIERRA FALL COLORS LOOP October 8, 2007
Buoyed by the fine weather, and an op to travel for a holiday, I took off, in mid-morning, to head up U.S. 50 eastbound. Canceling my plan to revisit Utah so soon, I even declined to see U.S. 395, since I heard the colors weren't that good. This all was a good call!
The foothill colors of planted trees were taking off, and I may do another drive to take in those. I had drink and food in Placerville, where big time highway construction is taking place. U.S. 50 will have a new freeway, through town, it looks like.
Motoring southeast on the Mormon-Emigrant Road, the dogwood was turned pale red in a few spots. I soon reached CA 88, and encountered snow on the embankments.
To my surprise, last week's new snow had mostly all melted, and only powder in the shade and north facing sides persisted. A peak climb would have been the ticket, today! I didn't have the time, so merely snapped many a photo of the aspen groves, as my usual annual record.
The colors were pale, or gone, about Caples Lake, but snowy Round Top (10,381') made a nice sight. I came to Carson Pass, where a few cars were parked for hiking. You would have to cross snow to get to the top of the high peaks.
Hope Valley, I'd rate about a 3 or 4 out
of 10 for the colors, this year. The transition was highly uneven,
with bare trees, dead leaves, pale yellows, and still green. The
spots for reds weren't very good or brilliant. I quickly snapped
photos at my usual stops, and there were a few leaf-peepers about.
Traffic was light.
Getting to the rustic lodge just east of the CA 89 junction, I paid almost $2 for a can of soda, but was glad for the op to park and snap a few more pictures. The color was good enough, here. Fine for me, this year.
I crossed Luther Pass, and descended into South Lake Tahoe. Taking CA 89 north, I came to Taylor Creek USFS Visitor Center. The colors were similarly disappointing, here, too, but I took the short nature trail to view the spawning salmon. The creek was clear flowing, and there were plenty of fish to view. It was nice to do this without the crowds.
Some more storms are due for the next day, and the rest of the week, so this may be it for the colors and viewing ops. I presume the low precip, last winter, contributed to the mediocre show.
Wishing to get some exercise, I sidetripped off U.S. 50 and parked at Echo Lake, taking the PCT northward. Detouring to an overlook, I witnessed for myself the burned area, due to the Angora Fire, last summer. Then, it was along the Echo lakeshore trail, with the clear air and sights of the gnarled junipers and pines. I turned back after reaching the far side of the lower lake, giving me an hour and a half's hike.
I wore my new orange, LW Cap crew, under my black vest. Taking some self timed photos, I will enjoy my latest outerwear.
I made some more stops along U.S. 50, then viewed the red sunset over the Sacramento area as I motored back into town. So, it was a nice, relaxing day, finished with some organic vegetables at my favorite buffet, now.
Hiking about 4 miles, with slight gain, I shot some 335 pictures and movie clips. Nice to record voice notes, too. I had driven about 240 miles, round trip. I used less than a half tank of gas.
It was pleasing to see that my car still ran fine, and that I could still do another motor cruise about the Northern Sierra. Most all was fine and good. Major work is ongoing to make the roads better, and the sights more accessible. So goes it for Fall, 2007, in the Northern Sierra!
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