When Autumn colors come around I think most of us seem to congregate around the areas that are easily accessible, not wanting to miss any moment of the color show. At least that seems to be me. The desire to be adventurous, to head off the beaten path with the risk of maybe striking out and missing a day of color sometimes seems like quite a lot for those of us that drive a good distance just to reach the Sierra.
Yet it seems like it is experiences like that; where you have to get up a bit earlier, or risk a fruitless hike, those are the most rewarding. However, I have found that if you do catch that special moment and you capture it on film nothing beats it.
So ... with all of that have you had any rewarding hikes during this time of the year where you risked the hike to find color at a lake a little further out. Maybe a drive down a dirt road, or camping out to see the sunrise. Anyone have any stories to share or places we should risk it for?
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I haven't been down there specifically for photography as much as I'd like, but I do recall backpacking many times in the fall and coming across remote stands of aspen that I'd love to hit at peak times! I came across some awesome aspens turning gold way up Woods Creek in Kings Canyon NP, and while hiking the JMT we often went through amazing groves of aspens starting to turn color in the more central/northern sections of the JMT... I remember some good ones along Goddard Creek nearing Piute Canyon (even a meadow called Aspen Meadows!). Coming out of Pine Creek Canyon you go through some gorgeous aspen stands that take some hiking to get to. Of course going up Piute Canyon the lower reaches are filled with aspens. 99% of the fall color photographers drive up the canyon roads in their vehicles and never get out to hike (of course having so many gorgeous roadside aspen groves in the canyons doesn't encourage much hiking, ha!), so I know there's lots of groves and compositions one can choose that's unique if one gets away from the crowds. When/if I go full-time photography (or at least have the flexibility to be where I want when I want), I can spend a couple weeks during peak season exploring cool groves that take lots of effort and scouting rather than jamming down there for a quick weekend and bump tripods with my fellow photographers. Which is still sorta fun. It's like fishing elbow-to-elbow for fall chinook salmon on the American River.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!
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