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Foliage already turning colors!

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Foliage already turning colors!

Postby mountaineer » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:11 am

I just got back from the east side and I am worried that my planned October trip will be too late!
There is a tinge of yellow on the upper slopes of the Sherwin area just SE of Mammoth and also around Lake Sabrina.

Is the drought messing up the normal order of events for fall colors?
Is it possible they will peak in Sept rather than October?



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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby John Dittli » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:57 am

The aspen have been starting to turn here in Little Round Valley for the last two weeks, a full month earlier then I have ever seen! The Cottonwoods are also putting forth some bright yellow leaves in the Owens Valley.

Not sure what it all means.
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby mountaineer » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:38 am

John, could you do a fall color update on this forum? I do have some leeway in planning my trip. For instance, if you say that "next weekend will be peak" I can probably change my plans and come "spur of the moment". I am sure other forum users are in the same situation.
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby John Dittli » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:51 am

I'll do my best!
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:22 am

Yes, that would be great JD, this is way to early.
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby The hermit » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:23 pm

I'm planning a trip a little earlier this year. Last week of sept.instead of second week of oct. Hopefully I'm gonna catch at least some fall color! Updates are much appreciated!
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby SSSdave » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:04 pm

Have been wondering how fall during this extraordinarily dry year would play out. About to start a backpack over Mono Pass into Pioneer Basin. Had moved up the dates a week because I wanted to be there at the peak of the salix arctica leaf changes and suspected it might occur a week earlier than usual. So will report what I see there and on the return state of aspen groves coming down the Rock Creek road then whatever I see along US395/SR120 or SR108 going back west. Although the dryness may cause earlier than usual leaf changes, it may also make for less vibrant leaf color. Will just have to wait and see.
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby BrianF » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:00 pm

I also noticed some aspen leaves going yellow along Bishop Creek last weekend. Just a small scattering of them
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby John Dittli » Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:52 pm

We spent last night up in the Mono Basin. There are still a lot of green trees, but there are swaths of "scrub aspen" that are "yellowish green". Here's a couple of iphone shots.
IMG_0043.jpg
IMG_0039.jpg


A little unusual for Aug 23
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby SSSdave » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:24 am

Aug 22>26, backpacked from Mosquito Flat over Mono Pass into Pioneer Basin also viewing aspen groves along US395 and SR108. Most groves look a healthy green although some that John referred to as "scrub aspen" indeed have trees that are turning yellow as they sometimes do. For instance the groves viewable at the Mammoth Lakes junction on the sagebrush morainal slopes north of Laural Mountain.

Although areas west of the crest have generally been dryer than normal this summer, 90 day rainfall maps show southern Sierra Nevada areas east of the crest down into Owens Valley have received higher than normal precipitation as a result of some good bouts of thunderstorms. Areas further north of Mono Lake to Tahoe are normal to a bit above normal. That summer rain has likely helped keep aspen happy. Late last Wednesday some heavy soakers all along the southern crest left the highway wet for dozens of miles all along my route on the drive in. From the trailhead I night hiked from 11pm to about 12:15am getting a jump on the 1900 foot climb to the pass and the normally very dusty horse biscuit trail was thoroughly washed from runoff with puddles all over. So a good late season boost just before the leaves begin their annual changes. Up above the cottonwood and aspen, usual shrubs and herbs that change to yellows and reds like fireweed, willows, geraniums, huckleberries, bog bilberry looked maybe a week or so ahead of schedule as I suspected.

Of particular interest to this person was one of my favorite alpine plants, the ground level, dwarf bilberry aka alpine bilberry,vaccinium caespitosum, because it is particularly abundant about Pioneer Basin providing possible colorful red foregrounds. I found bilberry growing in drier flats a dry weak dull orange-brown crunchy like Rice Crispy, obviously too water deprived to show much color change. However in peripheral meadow areas the colorful bilberry looked as normal as it usually does about Labor Day and salix arctica were also turning yellow. I enjoyed eating some tasty blueberries off vaccinium uliginosum in big meadow at the Golden Creek crossing, and in the lodgepole forest many huckleberries were showing their tasty red balls.
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:40 am

Dave, PM sent.
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Re: Foliage already turning colors!

Postby John Dittli » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:26 am

The usual early suspects are coming on strong, but don't expect any reflections in South Lake or Sabrina.
_MG_3717.jpg
_MG_3729.jpg
_MG_3745.jpg
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South Lake
_MG_3733.jpg
Sabrina
IMG_0171.jpg
South Lake
IMG_0173.jpg
South Lake
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