2005 Eastern Sierra Fall Foliage Excursion (10/12-10/17/2005)

Now I even dream in yellow, gold, and red as a result of this trip!

Armed with a new camera and lens (Canon EOS 5D and an 24-105 L zoom lens), I set out to see California autumn colors, hoping to take in the crisp air and colorful foliage at nature last glory of the year, all at a time when well-known parks are void of the crowd. For the most part, this vision was realized. Below is a brief travelogue. If I get ambitious, I'll try to expand on interesting segments.

Fall Foliage Trip Planning

I had planned to make a trip to capture fall foliage colors earlier, right after returning from a cross-country trip. Yet the research was not easy as far as where to go, when, and what specific things I could see and do. Existing information on the Web is fairly disorganized. There are some useful sites, but all have emphases on specific locales. Some commercial sites offer information from a year or two ago. What I found most useful were leaf peepers' up-to-date reports. I will attempt to compile at list of useful links for others as well as for myself in the future. When complete, it will be posted here.

After much research of location and timing of candidate locations as far north as Washington and as far East as Colorado, I decided to go to Eastern Sierra. The selection of Eastern Sierra as the destination for this maiden foliage trip was due primarily to the helpful postings I found at www.calphoto.com/fall.htm. This site was run by Carol Leigh who is an accomplished photographer, teacher and photo trip leader. Many contributors reported their foliage trips on this site in a timely fashion. Better yet, the posted pictures gave me a real sense of what to look forward to. Besides, I always wanted to see the southernmost glacier and Mount Whitney . And on top of these goals, doing this shorter trip is also a way to not contribute to the rocketing fuel price problem during this timeframe. I settled on the following itinerary for a 7-10 days trip:

  • SF bay area to Lee Vining via Yosemite
  • Lee Vining to June Lake Loop and onto Bishop
  • Bishop to Glacier Lodge and onto Lone Pine
  • Lone Pine to Whitney Portal
  • Depending on what I find at these places, I may make stops on the way back to the bay area.

To stay on a fairly reasonable schedule, I reserved hotels in Lee Vining, Bishop and Lone Pine for one night each, and to play by ear after that. I managed to keep pretty close to this plan with a few interesting twists along the way.