THE DAYS AHEAD OF LABOR DAY... can be hot around the Golden State, even on the roasting side, even deep into triple digit territory, depending upon where you reside. And yet... things, they are a-changin', most definitely, at least in the very small, look-closer-to-notice ways. The shrubs along your street may still be green, but the tips of their leaves are going a bit pink, and yellow, and the whole plant vibes with the coming of autumn. Berries, too, start to appear, where once there were no berries, and the quality of light takes on a clearer hum. (If you know fall's dramatic arrival, you know just what we mean by that, the hum of the different light you feel in your fall-loving bones.) But beyond the pink-leafy shrubs of your street, how exactly do you know where to go to see the fall's finest foliage? You can keep tabs on the visitor bureau sites for the counties traditionally know for their brilliant October hues (Plumas County, you so know we're looking at you here). And, to complement that research, you can keep happy tabs on the California Fall Color blog, the seasonal must read for those who want to know what trees are changing where and if they've totally passed their peak.
RIGHT, THE PEAK: It's always something foliage fanatics dread a little, even as they love and anticipate it. A true-blue leaf peeper never wants to learn that an area hit its peak a week or two back; the leaf lover wants to learn that Bishop or Convict Lake or Truckee or Sonoma are all in the 75%-100% range and on their way to peak beauty. That means an autumn adventurer still has time to throw a weekend case in the trunk and get there to snap some pics or breathe in the crisp autumn air. The only way to know where the percentage is at, of course, is to follow along, week by week, as September turns into October turns into November. The blog is a fall-fun labor of love from writer John Poimiroo, who knows his leaf-peeping byways and colorful canyons. Is this the year you're doing Plumas? No, seriously, have you driven the State Scenic Highway portion of Route 70 right around Halloween? You're in for a picturesque treat. For all other places, and how the pink-pretty leaves are doing, day-by-day, keep an eye on California Fall Color.