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