Friday, November 28, 2014

Autumn, Western Style

Sycamore at the Pinnacles National Park Visitor Center
I can't help but notice that winter has set in around much of the country, but my calendar says it's still autumn for another few weeks. I don't know why so many of you are so anxious to jump right into winter, but I'm not. As I've traveled around these last two weeks, I've seen some beautiful sights that I'm sharing as part of a feeling of thanksgiving.
Sycamore tree and Saguaro Cactus in Burro Canyon, Arizona
The western United States has some of the best geology to be found anywhere in the world, but the eastern U.S. can certainly boast a wonderful show when autumn rolls around. I'd never say we can compete for color, because our trees are usually few and far between, or hidden in conifer forests. Still there is great beauty in individual trees, like the Sycamore I saw last week at Burro Canyon in Arizona, or two weeks ago at Pinnacles National Park.
A street in Modesto CA
My home base of Modesto is no slouch in the color department. We may be the officially the #2 or #3 worst place to live, but for a few weeks in November, our streets come alive with color. One of our most colorful ornamentals is the Modesto Ash, a tree of western origin that is good in drought conditions.
In the Klamath Mountains near Dunsmuir

The mountains aren't done yet, either. As we drove north towards Oregon yesterday, the hills around Dunsmuir and Mt. Shasta were alive with color as well.

Our winter will come soon enough. I'm glad to see fall colors lasting for weeks after the leaves have all fallen elsewhere!
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