“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
– John Muir, “Our National Parks,” 1901
Yes, we did just arrive home from the Eastern Sierras. The very mention of this region, particularly Mammoth, brings to the minds of skiers a vision of the deep powdered mountain slopes of winter, although autumn is by far the finest time of year to be there. No bias here! The summer crowds are gone, the locals take a deep relaxing breath and await the season’s first and subsequent snowstorms hoping an abundance of “white stuff” will ensure a successful ski season. The night before the day we left, a light snow fell at the higher elevations. That morning we measured a wind chill factor of 27 degrees. Tioga Pass, the passage through to Yosemite, closed for a short time until the roads were safe for travel. Though summer just ended winter’s approach is evident.
The primary attraction, aside from the pure awesomeness of the Sierras, was the peak of the fall foliage. Along the banks of the snow-fed tributaries flowing down the mountainside canyons and ravines are stands of quaking aspen. Their colors vary, ranging from green, yellow, gold and burgundy. All seem to be at a different stage of transition, contributing to a wide contrast in color.
The beginnings of autumn color didn’t go unnoticed as we drove into the Crescenta Valley. Our local counterpart to the aspen is the liquidambar. Although not really peaking until Thanksgiving, the leaves’ combinations of shape and color is a much prettier one. One more asset to our part of the world – the mild temperatures. They said, “Welcome.”
The ebb and flow of the season continues. Offshore gusty winds, Santa Anas and their resulting heat are expected in the foothills of L.A. and Ventura. A wind advisory is in effect as well as a Red Flag Warning.
Temperature-wise, readings well into the 90s are predicted. By late Sunday and Monday, the forecast shifts to a much cooler one. Cloudy conditions are a guarantee with whispers of rain showers slipping into the weather picture. My rain gauge eagerly awaits the first drop; at the same time, feeling down and forgotten, our umbrellas stand in the closet, still “Closed for the Season.”
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.