As the temperatures begin to get colder, aspen, cottonwood and willow in the eastern Sierra Mountains suspend production of chlorophyll, which is essential for photosynthesis, and attempt to save energy in anticipation of the coming winter. As the chlorophyll left in leaves breaks down (and with it the green coloring), other colors begin to shine through. And boy do they.
RM and I had the opportunity to drive over 1,000 miles this last week exploring over a 1100 square miles of Yosemite National Park along 214 miles of paved roads as well as the surrounding areas near Milo Basin and Mammoth Falls to the east of Yosemite. We also drove through the Fresno Valley area and found it to be traumatized by the infamous California drought. Very sad to see first hand.
But the leaves. Oh, my.
We timed our trip in hopes of experiencing cooler temps and a bit of a nip in the air in mid October in the mountains and we were not disappointed. We had sunshine nearly all week with just a dusting of snow on the highest elevation the night before we departed. Nearly a perfect week of viewing the changing season up close and personal.