Our subtle, pretty autumns
OK, maybe people don’t come from all over to see our fall foliage the way they flock to leafy regions back east, but we do have fall here, and it is pretty. It’s just a little more subtle than the flashy falls back east.
Sometimes it seems we go from summer to winter—from triple digits to icy sidewalk—virtually overnight, but when the nights gradually get colder, and the leaves gradually turn, this is my favorite time of year in the Antelope Valley.
My favorite place to see fall leaves is Valyermo, up near St. Andrew’s Abbey. I always equate fall with running—dating back to fond memories of my cross country running days in upstate New York—and it’s fun to drive up to Valyermo and take a run up the hills past the monastery on a crisp and clear fall morning. Sometimes, on the colder mornings, you can smell woodsmoke from a distant fireplace.
I asked some friends and readers to share their favorite places to view fall colors in this area, and here are some of the choices:
Several people said Tehachapi, and that’s hard to beat. You not only can see the foliage, you also can pick your own apples in one of the area’s beautiful orchards. You might even see some wildlife. My friend, Jim Schettig, lives in the Stallion Springs area of Tehachapi, and in addition to his knockout view, he gets the occasional deer strolling right up into his back yard.
Liz Breault, who takes great pictures wherever she goes, agrees with me about the Valyermo area: “(Take) Big Rock Creek/Fenner Canyon and then drive to it through Valyermo,” she says.
Bruce B. Hailstone says if you take a little drive, you won’t regret it: “We drove up through Owens Valley to Mammoth on Harleys to see the colors, and sir, it is worth the drive,” he said. “It’s become our annual trek, third annual this year. Knockout gorgeous!”
Others recommend cruising down the Santa Clarita Valley canyons—Bouquet and Soledad—for a great autumn color show. I have to agree with that plan as well, having written a piece on the canyon drive for Westways, the Auto Club magazine, years ago.
Others say, go west, young man. Driving out west from Palmdale takes you to the Lakes area Lake Elizabeth and Lake Hughes, where, I’m told, “you’ll think you are back east.” Or, you can go east, 50 miles or so to Wrightwood.
Believe it or not, you don’t even have to leave town if you live in Lancaster or Palmdale. Some of the older residential neighborhoods have nice colors, including Staffordshire Drive, just off Avenue L and 17th Street West in Lancaster.
And, according to one wiseguy whose name will go unmentioned, you don’t even have to go outside. You can find fall colors, he says, “in an aisle at Michael’s (craft store).”
Very funny. How many comedians are out of work these days?