Outside with Charlie: Fall colors

By From page A8 | October 16, 2013


The autumn display of color in Hope Valley is well under way with the trees showing their colors in wildly differing patterns.

A recent trip along Highway 88 revealed absolutely gorgeous trees, ones thinking about being gorgeous, and ones done with it all.

Another annual color show is at Taylor Creek, about three miles north of the “Y” in South Lake Tahoe. The Kokanee salmon have returned to spawn and the creek, which runs past the USFS Visitors Center, is quite a sight when the salmon show up.

The other critters that show up, besides humans, are bears fattening up for the upcoming winter hibernation. As mama bears teach their cubs to fish, papa bears happily stuff themselves with as many salmon as possible.

Bald eagles and Peregrine falcons are also present, either snatching fish out of the water or working on what’s left after the bears are done.

If you decide to go up there to take a look, give the bears plenty of space. This is especially true of the mama bears with cubs.

While all the colors are dancing about, hiking anywhere in the high country is very nice. With autumn bringing a change in temperature, layered clothing is important.

The temperatures can vary. Mornings can be downright cold before the day gradually warms up before heading back down to the cold category as evening approaches.

The Crystal Basin offers some very nice short hikes, or just a great drive, during autumn. Stop at any of the lakes and walk the exposed shorelines.

You could head up to Bassi Falls. There won’t be much water falling right now, but it’s a gentle and very nice autumn hike. The Chipmunk Trail up at Loon Lake is another fine autumn hike.

The forest isn’t a static place. It’s very dynamic. Each season offers completely different landscapes and surprises. The sights, sounds, and smells are ever changing. The animals behave differently, the light changes, the entire feel of the forest changes.

All of those hikes you went on during spring and summer? Pick one or two and hike them again. You’ll find it to be a very different experience, one that is every bit as nice.

Get your gear on and get outside!

Charlie Ferris

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