A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fall Color

Yesterday was a change-of-pace kind of day, as I had to attend a monthly meeting in Loyalton, about an hour and a half away, taking me through the awesome fall color show while driving over Yuba Pass.

This is one of the better views down the North Yuba River canyon, just a few miles east of Sierra City. Posted by Picasa

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. Posted by Picasa

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. Posted by Picasa

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. Posted by Picasa

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. Posted by Picasa

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. Posted by Picasa


Blogger FaeryCrafty said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures! Soooooooo beautiful! I live in Florida now, and I miss the Fall colors. I'll live vicariously through you!

7:14 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

OH MY GOODENSS. That's my house...or the one I dream of. I love to pass that valley. It's one of my favorites on the drive to Truckee. The other is that large house that used to be a B and B close to it. DO you know the one I am talking about? I'll have to ask Greg what town it's by....It's near a bend in the road.....

Anyway, there may be a move to Truckee in our future....Greg may be up for the manager position of the Truckee store. I would be so happy. I LOVE the snow. Not sure if we could afford to live there :-)

8:36 AM  
Blogger Lynette said...

Lovely! I especially like the photo of the farm house.

I wrestle with the whole high altitude photography thing a lot. Most of the time I take a digital that can't be fit with filters so I have to do some post-processing on the photos.

When I first moved to California I was really surprised to find so many aspens in the higher elevations. I always associated aspens with Colorado so I was happy to find out I was wrong.

8:40 AM  
Blogger margene said...

Your mountains look very like ours. Very pretty pictures! I never really thought about high altitude photography being a different thing.

I'm looking forward to rolling in the leaves soon!

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Megann said...

Thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous pictures with us. They made me homesick for Oregon. We don't have fall here on the coast in San Diego.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Gorgeous pictures!! And that farmhouse? I would give my yarn stash and my Denise needles for that house!!

6:30 PM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

Love that house, myself! And what gorgeous photos...wonder what's nearby for jobs in engineering...? TMFMPPF (new acronym) could hunt for a job out there...Whacha think, 'net sis? Hey hope all is well, you've been a bit scarce lately...miss ya!

6:31 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

Mmm, those photos remind me of what's great about the Sierra Valley. (My parents have a place outside Portola.)

2:55 PM  

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