Once upon a time, a reporter asked a long time Yosemite Interp Ranger where to find the best fall color, and the ranger replied, “About 3000 miles that way” and pointed east. Ok, so we’re not Vermont, when it comes to fall color. Most of our forests are coniferous, but Chris and I managed to find a few splashes of color today on our way from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne.
The largest, most impressive display we saw were the oaks right at the 120/140 junction. There are splashes of color along the road as well – a couple of red Dogwoods, and some aspen groves, mostly below about 7000 feet.
The Valley is just starting to come into its own. In addition to the oaks at the junction, the roadways are overhung by increasingly golden leaves, and the dogwoods are getting pink. I haven’t been past the Maple near the Chapel, but it was starting to turn about a week ago, so I expect that it’s beautiful. Chris and I made a mental note to keep an eye on the river by Housekeeping Camp over the next few days. There is usually some nice foliage to be seen there when the leaves turn. LeConte Gully (MY gully) is becoming golden again with those narrow-leaved Golden Armada bushes. That isn’t the proper name for them, but Stavast has an amazing painting of them with that title, and it has stuck in my head that way. I remember those bushes provided a stunning foreground for a spectacular view of Half Dome when Tom and I were in that gully 2 years ago. [Note to anyone not familiar with my history with this gully: if you go up there watch for loose rock.]
At home in Yosemite West, the dogwoods have just started taking off. Although the trees in our front yard are only tinged with pink, there is a big bush near Bruce’s house that has gone brilliant in the last few days. The other neigborhood displays are getting there, but still need a few days to reach peak.
Driving up to Tuolumne a week ago, my neighbor noticed some nice golden color around Tenaya Lake, but by this weekend, it had gone mostly brown, or blown away. We did find some nice reddish ground cover around the small lakes/ponds behind Pothole Dome, which were beautiful in their own right, but I’m betting it was more impressive a week or two ago. Of course, Tuolumne is always beautiful in its own right, and every time I’m up there, I wonder why I don’t visit more often.