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Mono Basin fall colors are just around the corner

September 17th, 2017 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

I saw my first yellow leaves the other day, just a few golden specks fluttering amidst a sea of vibrant green along the June Lake Loop, and it got me very excited for fall.

Leaves are just starting to change from green to yellow and red. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Fall is perhaps my favorite time of year in the Mono Basin. It’s like the whole ecosystem relaxes, it takes a deep breath after the constant rush of summer and lets it all go. The air is crisp and clear, the sagebrush sea becomes silent after its birds have flown south, the aspen leaves flutter gold, and the clouds put on spectacular broody shows most evenings.

Each week in fall is unique because of the changing leaves in each individual canyon and hilltop—one week they are still lime green, the next they may be neon yellow, the next buttercream with ruddy streaks like flames licking up a log. When the leaves finally let go and fall to the ground, winter is just around the corner and the silvery ghosts of aspen groves remind me of yearly and life cycles of birth and re-birth. The color changes in the Eastern Sierra are only just getting started, with only a few places at 0–10% turning (Rock Creek, Sagehen Summit). But come visit us in the next few weeks and into October and see the glorious rainbow of trees!

Mono Basin fall colors last year on September 22, 2016. Photo by Nora Livingston.

We offer multiple Fall Color Foray field seminars in October to help you see the best colors.¬†These half-day seminars will hit the hot spots of colorful groves where we will enjoy the glittering golden, ruby, and emerald forests while learning about aspen ecology—these trips are great for photographers. The dates for these seminars are October 4, October 12, and October 16. It’s easy to register online or you can call our office at (760) 647-6595 to sign up. Come see the glory of the fall season for yourself!

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