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Take the time to enjoy the Fall colors but don’t delay

Don Quilici
Nevada Appeal Outdoors Editor

Wow! Someone (other than me!) must have been wishing for winter weather last week. They sure got their wish, and then some.

At our home, we lost all our annual flowers and all our “veggies” (tomatoes, squash and peppers) to that hard freeze. Plus our Catalpa tree leaves look like someone hit them with a blowtorch.

Sigh, it must be Fall in this part of the country. So, now that everyone is wearing long pants, long sleeve shirts, sweaters and jackets, here is a Don Q suggestion for being outdoors this weekend.

If you have the opportunity, plan to enjoy the spectacular displays of Fall colors of the leaves of the Quaking Aspen trees. But don’t delay. The summer-long lack of rain and the recent high winds have really raised havoc with those leaves and many of them are already on the ground.

As of our car drive of last Sunday afternoon, the leaves were in three distinct categories: Still green on the trees, already turned color and falling, or the trees were bare with their leaves on the ground.

If you would like to see some Fall colors, here are ten locations, with eight of them in the Woodfords Canyon – Hope Valley – Red Lake area of Alpine County. Calif.

Woodfords Canyon – Hope Valley – Red Lake:

1. Along S.R. 88 in Woodfords Canyon, between Woodfords and Sorensen’s Resort, which is located at this edge of Hope Valley.

Some great colors can be seen on the “Quakies” along the West Carson River, especially on the left side in the afternoon, as you get closer to Sorensen’s.

2. At Sorensen’s Resort, where the trees serve as a colorful backdrop. As of our drive last Sunday, the most spectacular colors and most photographers were there.

3. The short distance on S.R. 88, between Sorensen’s and the junction of S.R. 88 (to Kit Carson Pass) and S.R. 89 (to South Lake Tahoe).

This has been one of my favorite locations for enjoying and photographing the Fall colors in past years, but last weekend, most of the trees were already bare.

4. In Hope Valley on the right side of S.R. 88, on the long straight-away just before reaching the Blue Lakes turnoff.

This is a popular location for photographers. If you’re not sure where it is, watch for all kinds of parked vehicles and people walking along the highway or in the field with tri-pods and cameras.

5. On S.R. 88, just past the Blue Lakes turnoff, as you travel uphill on a long, straight stretch of the highway. The trees on the right side near the end of the straight-away are the most colorful, right now.

6. Where the road to Crater Lake intersects S.R. 88. This small road is 1.9 miles past the Blue Lakes turnoff. Watch for a small paved road on your right side that curves up a steep bank next to the highway. Take that road (the pavement is badly eroded, travel about 50 yards, cross a cattleguard and the pavement changes to dirt.

Once you have crossed the cattleguard, park anywhere you desire (off the road!) and then enjoy a leisurely walk through the Quakies.

This is my No. 1 all-time favorite location for seeing and photographing Fall colors in our area.

In the past, on nice days when the weather permitted, we would take a picnic lunch of cold fried chicken, Cole slaw, rolls, apple pie and soft drinks. Then, we would sit on a large log, leisurely eat our lunch and enjoy what Mother Nature displayed for us. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Give it a try this weekend. Just remember if you go there with a picnic lunch, be sure to take all of your trash with you when you are done. Leave nothing behind but your footprints.

7. If you desire, you can continue to drive uphill on the dirt road, toward Crater Lake, to see more Quakie colors. However be advised that the road is narrow, rocky, bumpy and steep. Not a good place for your shiny new sports car.

8. Along S.R. 88, on the long straight-away just before reaching Red Lake and along the first couple hundred yards of the dirt road that leads from Red Lake to Lost Lakes.

I would not advise driving your vehicle uphill toward Lost Lakes. That road is narrow and very steep.

Monitor Pass:

9. At the top of Monitor Pass on S.R. 89, which is located between the East Carson River, south of Markleeville, and U.S. 395, south of Topaz Lake. This is a longer drive from Carson City but well worth the time and effort.

There is some awesome high country scenery as you drive to the top of the pass and then down the other side toward U.S. 395.

Just remember to drive careful when you leave Monitor Pass, as the highway is steep and winding.

Carson City:

10. If you don’t want to travel out of town, then you can always stay home and enjoy the Fall colors right here. I would suggest waiting about another week for the colors to reach their peak for the trees that still have their leaves.

When you do go, take the time to walk, bike or drive on streets such as Curry, Nevada, Division, Minnesota, Mountain, Fifth, King, Telegraph or Long. They are all located on the older “West Side.”

On those streets, you will see the colorful leaves on trees and bushes, including apple, cherry, plum, pear, peach, cottonwood, elm, Hawthorne, maple, etc.

If you drive on those West Side Streets, be sure not to impede traffic behind you. Be a courteous drive, not a slow moving road hog.

Then, as a special bonus, you can also take the time to enjoy the Fall colors at the State Capitol grounds and at the Legislative Mall, by leisurely strolling through those two areas in the afternoon.

Finally:

No matter where you go to enjoy the current Fall colors, don’t delay, don’t delay. Many of the leaves are either on the ground or they are rapidly dropping from the trees and bushes. It would be a shame to miss the last of this year’s Fall colors.

Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you what is unusual about all this good Don Q advice for enjoying Fall colors.

If he grins and says, “The advice for enjoying the beautiful Fall colors comes from a person who is color blind,” he could be one of my relatives or a close friend.

It’s true, I’m color blind but I sure do enjoy the yellow and orange colors of the Quakie leaves at this time of the year.

Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal