Thursday, November 8, 2012

Peak leaf-peeping weeks

-Foliage in Yosemite Valley is at its peak color now. While weekdays are very quiet, recent weekends have brought in lots of leaf-peeping visitors. Black oaks, big-leaf maples, and black cottonwoods are all shining in their various yellows. Dogwoods own the red/pink. The sugar maple is bare.
-Michael Frye reported seeing azaleas blooming in El Capitan Meadow, and sure enough, I found them yesterday. On many of these yellowed shrubs are fresh, bright white flowers. The fragrance isn't strong, but a sniff puts one right into the warm days of June.
-In the canyon below Yosemite Valley, there are miles of grapevine - invisible all summer - now declaring its presence with yellow leaves. It's truly remarkable how abundant wild grape is, now that it's highlighted.

-The Merced River is still running quite low, at about 60% of average volume. The storm that's arrived today is not expected to add much precipitation, though we should see a bit of snow at low elevations. We'll probably lose some of our colorful leaves, but that just makes walking through the fallen foliage more fun.
-Our final field seminar of the year is on December 1: "The Day of the Woodpecker." You'd be astounded what there is to know about Yosemite's diverse group of woodpeckers.
-We start 2013 programs with snowshoe treks, and two special photography courses. All leaves remaining through the winter will be green; come see.