This is one of the better views down the North Yuba River canyon, just a few miles east of Sierra City.
This view is looking down the river towards the Sierra Buttes, at Bassetts Station. I was annoyed that there was no way to eliminate the wire, but then had to remind myself that this was a work day for me, not a hiking and photograpy expedition; sometimes I do such a good job pretending to be on an outing, I almost forget.
Now, we have crossed over the pass, and are in the Sierra Valley, one of the largest high mountain valleys in the U.S. The elevation is about 5,000 feet throughout, and it is mostly open space, ranch country. My county, Sierra, has one of the better General Plans in the state, committing to preserving the ranching heritage and open space by not allowing the current land holdings to be subdivided into suburban ranchettes. However, that has helped drive the home prices through the ceiling in the towns along the two highway corridors running around the perimeter. This old farmhouse is truly a classic, located on the Martinetti Ranch between Sierraville and Sattley.
You have probably noticed by now that gold is the dominant fall color in the Sierras, which seems appropriate for a region known around the world for the 1849 Gold Rush. I happen to think it makes a fabulous match with the deep greens of the conifer forest. The deciduous trees tend to cluster around water, but there are also thick bands of black oak at the 5000-5500 foot elevation band.
Here is an example of how well-matched aspens are with conifers at this time of year.
Some of these photos are a little washed out (at least to my critical eye), so now would be a good time to share with you that, much like baking, high-altitude photography is NOT the same as at sea level.... I haven't altered any of these photos with Photoshop, but sometimes have to brighten or add contrast to make up for the thinner air at higher elevation. Polarizing filters would work too.
There are examples of reds as well, such as this maple, and the male of the western dogwood species (the female highlights our springs with her flowery-looking bracts). I have always loved the differentiation of duties in the sexes of the dogwood, entertaining us at opposite times of the year with beautiful shows.
October is a very special month here in the California mountains, usually the weather is benign and fall eases slowly into winter, but not yet. October starts out very warm, and generally ends with some cold, damp weather, and maybe even the first snow storm, but "real" winter doesn't grab hold of us until December. Plenty of time to get out and enjoy our scenery, just remember to take a sweater, or a hand-knitted scarf.
When I returned to work, everyone had made a big leaf pile from a neighbor's maple tree, and were busy enjoying fall color in a completely different way.