Town Crier: Oakland hills, state fall colors beautiful too


courtesy of Bruce Wendler Fall leaves appear along Dunderberg Road in Mono County. Whether you take a road trip to the Sierra or leaf-peep in your neighborhood, California’s fall colors are showing.

MONTCLARION: October 12, 2018

It’s mid-October, and all these swirling leaves have put me in a mood. It’s not a Sinatra mood, where I liken my life to a vintage wine, (although I am a fan of late harvest zins) but more of a Guess Who mood, as in “seasons change, and so do I.”

I feel drawn to fall like a moth to a lantern. The cornucopia of colors — auburns and oranges, reds, greens and yellows is irresistible to someone who grew up in the Midwest. If you are a leaf-peeper like me, you’ll like my colleague, John Poimiroo’s site, www., or, as he so aptly puts it, “Dude, autumn happens here too.”

Poimiroo’s army of volunteer color spotters, land agencies and tourism folks sends photos and updates on California’s best autumn offerings. An interactive map lets you see zones that are just showing, near peaking, peaking and peaked.

For folks in the Oakland hills, nature takes a bit longer to work her magic. Poimiroo says we’re somewhere between 10 and 50 percent. But whether you take a road trip to Tahoe or leaf-peep in your neighborhood — California’s true colors are showing. It’s time to break out the mulled wine and celebrate.In the weeds: Last week was a warm, windy one — an October phenomenon that makes us especially alert as Oct. 20 (the anniversary of the 1991 Oakland hills fire) draws near. Some observations make folks nervous: discarded cigarettes near dry chaparral, sparks from heavy equipment use and the real head-shaker — city-owned property blanketed in brush.Reader Shirley Tuben lost part of her deck in a fire that still has Snake Road closed (between Colton and Thornhill). She’s been begging the city to clear its nearby lot but is told there’s no money for the abatement. Would this excuse work for a homeowner with brush in their yard? I don’t think so.

Alcatraz history: Sunrise this Columbus Day was a spiritual awakening on Alcatraz. Alcatraz Cruises and the National Park Service hosted an Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony to mark the 1969 American Indian occupation of the island. This was not your regular Alcatraz tour but rather a chance to revisit a fascinating time in our history. The event will be held again Nov. 22. If you’d like to sign up, call 415-981-7625

Animal tales: You’ve heard of the owl and the pussycat? Well, this was the owl and the roof rat that tangled (not tangoed) on a recent moonlit night. Mr. Who swooped down from his tree perch and into our yard, where a portly rodent was wolfing down birdseed. The screeching was awful, and the kerfuffle caused the owl to collide with the window, allowing the roof rat to scurry to shelter. All this while my cat was napping in the house. And they say the owl is smart. I’d say my cat was the wise one.

Ginny Prior can be reached at at or


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s