This is most likely the last Fall Color update for the year. As I was leaving Lee Vining this afternoon, the wind was blowing hard and a storm front was moving over Yosemite. I suspect that the few remaining large clusters of Fall Foliage in the Eastern Sierra will have been pretty heavily stripped by morning. And Rumor is that another storm system may move through tomorrow. On the upside, for those of you who follow my tweets, I did decide to turn right and head back to Mono Lake.
As the storm front moved in, these wonderful clouds and patchy light moved over the lake. So, I had to head back to the Visitor’s Center and capture a few photos of the moment. Lucky thing I did too. This delay resulted in my passing over 120 at the perfect time to witness one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. It lasted for about 10 minutes and just as it started I drove by an overlook where I could witness the entire show (watch for these photos over the next few days). Had I not gone back to Mono Lake, I would have missed this show entirely! (Thanks to the Mrs. for urging me to turn right..) It pays to be lucky (and have the camera ready when the luck strikes)!
On to the last fall color update for the Easter Sierra, here were the locations that I was able to visit today:
Rock Creek: Lower Rock Creek had nice colors up to Iris Meadow camp ground. Further up only one grove near of Aspen that had some green and any color was right near the entrance to Big Meadow campground. Everything higher up than Big Meadow was stripped bare by the wind. There was still a few nice spots to capture Rock Creek surrounded in yellow Aspen.
McGee Creek: Lower McGee appeared to be just past prime, thought still plenty of yellow. Upper McGee Creek
was well past prime. Trees up past the trail head have started to loose considerable leaves.
Convict Lake: While there still are some yellows left, they are past prime and the wind is quickly stripping the leaves off up around the lake.
Lee Vining: Lee Vining Creek Trail is largely brown or barren from the recent winds. Unsure how many leaves will remain after today’s wind storm. The Lee Vining Canyon (beneath Tioga Pass Road) still had nice stands of Yellow and one amazing stand of Orange and Yellow fades just past the Mobile Station heading up to the pass. Unsure how these will fare with the winds. A few other scattered stands of color around Lee Vining.
Lundy Canyon: Lots of color, some trees even green still! But the big windstorm that was coming through in late afternoon will likely leave only 40% of the leaves by morning.
Virginia Lake Road: About 60% of leaves left on the large grove of Aspen just north of Conway Summit. Those are the only leaves you will find as higher up and at Virginia Lake all the leaves have been stripped by the wind. There was a few nice groves of Aspen about 1/3 of the way up the road where all the fallen leaves were still on the ground and creating nice back lighting on barren trees.
My gut is telling me that depending on the possible storm on Monday and how bad the wind was the rest of this evening, there is probably only a week left of patches of substantial in the Eastern Sierras.
Watch for some photos from this weekend’s trip over the coming days.