Fall colors part 2: Bay Area

As mentioned in a previous post, the West and East Coasts experience seasons differently.  Fall colors are more muted in the West than in the Midwest or East.  For a somewhat extreme example, forested areas in the Santa Cruz Mountains along the San Francisco Peninsula remain green throughout the year.  This picture was taken in late November but really looks the same year-round.

photo of year-round green forested hillsides in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Year-round green forested hillsides in the Santa Cruz Mountains

I have also noticed that the season for tree color seems to last much longer than my childhood and early adult memories of the East.  In the Northeast, and especially in New England, the trees all seem to change color at once, with great intensity, and the beautiful display is over within a couple of weeks.  On the other hand, the pictures in this post were accumulated over nearly two months.

Because of the abundance of evergreen (that is, year-round green) foliage, there are fewer opportunities to see colorful trees along hiking trails.  Although we do not have the colorful maple trees often seen in New England, we do have big-leaf maples in some of our local forests.  This pretty leaf was along the San Geronimo Ridge Road section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

picture of big-leaf maple leaf

Big-leaf maple leaf

While hiking near Chabot Regional Park in mid-October I found some poison oak that had already turned brilliant red.  This was one of the earliest foliage color changes that I noticed.

picture of early-fall color: poison oak!

Early-fall color: poison oak!

There are more opportunities to see interesting tree colors on “town walks” among a variety of so-called street trees.  One of the best-known is the gingko tree, whose leaves turn a beautiful shade of gold.  When the leaves drop, they form a golden carpet at the foot of the trunk.

photo of gingko tree with its golden carpet

Gingko tree with its golden carpet

The gingko leaves are a distinctive shape, which I tend to consider to be exotic.

image of gingko leaf

Gingko leaf

Another favorite street tree is the pistachio.  These trees seem to turn color gradually; I had my eye on this beautiful specimen in my neighborhood for at least a month before I took this picture in late November.

image of brilliant pistachio tree

Brilliant pistachio tree

During the last half of October there were quite a few interesting yard displays to celebrate Halloween.  In one yard I found this dancing circle of ghosts.

picture of ghost dance

Ghost dance

In another yard there was a group of scary figures dressed in orange and black, a couple with numbers on their fronts.  There also seemed to be strings of lights between the figures, so I returned at night to see the lights, and was amused to notice the lighted letters honoring the San Francisco Giants.

photo of yard display honoring the San Francisco Giants

Yard display honoring the San Francisco Giants

A nearby court, or short dead-end street, was lined with palm trees, which seem to pop up in sometimes surprising places in California.  I believe that the (seasonal) orange fluff is some kind of flower; I’ve only seen it in the Fall.

image of palm trees

Palm trees

One of my regular walking routes is along a paved multi-use trail that passes the back fence of several residential properties.  One particular section of fence is covered in a vine that turned red to celebrate the season.

picture of vines that turned out to be colorful

Even some vines turn out to be colorful

Finally, on Thanksgiving morning I participated in an organized Turkey Trot walking/running event.  Such an event would not be complete without a costume contest.  Here are a few participants whose costumes were reflective of the holiday.

picture of Turkey Trot costume contest participants

Turkey Trot costume contest participants

I hope to show other colorful seasonal images in future posts;  looking for these images provides an added dimension for my walks and hikes and, I hope, for readers also.

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3 Responses to Fall colors part 2: Bay Area

  1. Pingback: Christmas colors | trailhiker

  2. Pingback: Fall colors part 1: Lake Tahoe area | trailhiker

  3. Pingback: Ohlone Wilderness Trail part 3: Del Valle Regional Park to Sunol Regional Park | trailhiker

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