The weather and gas prices are the big factors for leaf watchers this week in the Eastern Sierra.
The dusting of snow from South Lake to Tioga Pass, along with high winds, didn't treat our delicate autumn leaves very well. The color that was peak earlier in the week will be falling by this weekend.
Have a great week shooting the fall colors, because it won't last much longer.
Best Bets for color this weekend
Close to Sacramento, the best bets for rich autumn color this weekend is Hope Valley. There's plenty of early color there that won't be affected by the high winds.
Monitor Pass and Conway Summit are good locations too.
Lundy Canyon is almost fully turned from green to rich yellows, oranges and reds. Plan on mid-week Oct. 17 for good color in the back areas. The drive in is good in some areas, but in others leaves are beginning to fall because of the winds.
McGee Creek has good color but requires a one-mile hike to see the best color.
The lower parts of Bishop Creek will still be fine for photographing the autumn leaf color, but don't plan on traveling past Aspendell/Cardinal Village or Mountain Glen on the South Lake Road. Farther up, the colorful leaves are completely down, a casualty of the high winds.
Next week, look for the June Lake Loop to be the best color in the Eastern Sierra.
Things to do
The Laws Railroad Museum outside Bishop is a great stop for a bit of the Old West feel.
If you spend time at Conway Summit, you might consider a half-day trip to the old ghost town of Bodie.
You won't find fall leaf colors at either place, but they are rich with other photo opportunities.
The Whoa Nellie Deli at the Mobile station in Lee Vining will close for the season October 28, 2012. Get their world-famous fish tacos while you can.
On the road
Road construction is a major nuisance.
Highway 395 at Topaz Lake is down to one lane because of new bridge construction, so expect delays of at least 20 minutes if you're going to Topaz Lake Casino for gas.
Highway 395 north of Bridgeport has three 20-minute delays for construction.
Before leaving home, check the CalTrans website or toll-free phone number (800) 427-7623 for road conditions.
Gas prices have changed a lot in the last week, as they have in the Sacramento area.
Topaz Lake Casino, which is three miles north of where Highways 89 and 395 meet, has gas for $4.69 per gallon. Along Highway 395 from Walker to Bishop, gas averages $5.50 to $5.70 per gallon. Gas in Bishop at the Giggle Springs, Arco and Paiute Casino stations is in the $4.44 range.
Gas prices are dropping. Only problem is, they fall more slowly than they rose.
The weather is supposed to clear this weekend but remember, conditions in the Sierra can change in an instant.
Get weather updates, see radar and satellite images at www.sacbee.com/weather
Try these websites for hotels and motels in the Eastern Sierra.
Now's the time to brush up on your photographic skills. See our Tips and Techniques section, geared especially for fall leaves photographers.
I hope you enjoy your photography and get some nice shots. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.