October 9th, 2007

Egrets Reading

Fall Color

Rabbitbrush near Chilao, Angeles National Forest

Southern California is known for being season-less. This, of course, isn’t exactly true. We have seasons here, they are just more…subtle.

For a haiku poet living in Southern California, I think this means that you learn to notice the slight seasonal changes, the little things that change under the radar of most people who live here.

On Saturday, I went on a fall plant walk in the Angeles National Forest which was co-organized by the California Native Plant Society and the National Forestry Service. We met at Chilao, which is about 27 miles up Angeles Crest Highway from La Cañada-Flintridge, which means it is in the mountains above Arcadia. It’s about 15 miles west from my house to Angeles Crest Highway, but since the road follows the crest of the mountains north of my house back east, Chilao is straight north from me, probably only about 10-15 miles away as the crow flies.

In early October, there is yellow in the mountains among the enduring green of pine trees. Rabbit brush, shown in the photo, is blooming everywhere above 5000 feet. Cottonwood trees are starting to turn yellow. Bracken ferns are yellowing. River willow is starting to turn yellow.

Other yellow-blooming plants in evidence are creek senecio, cliff goldenbush, pine goldenbush, and western goldenrod.

A lot of these plants are visible by the side of the road.

The road was slow going most of the time on Saturday because it turned that I was driving Angles Crest Highway in the middle of the 2007 Angeles Crest Century bicycle race. Often, I’d come around another twisting hairpin curve to encounter even more cyclists riding in the middle of the road...

rabbitbrush --
racing cyclists hog
the mountain road