Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Sun Valley Aspen Show Their Colors Despite Drought
The trail to Big Basin out East Fork has been glorious. But horse riders should be aware that the Labor Day Weekend blew several trees across the trail, a couple which could be problematic.
Saturday, October 10, 2020


The fall colors sprinkled throughout the Wood River Valley would have presented a stunning backdrop for the 24th Trailing of the Sheep Festival this weekend, had it not been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And Sun Valley Jazz and Music Festival leaf peepers would have done a little jig when they saw the foliage next week.

Sun Valley is ablaze, despite the “extreme drought” the area is in.

Hunters headed out Eagle Creek Road will find blazes of yellow set against the pine green.

Vibrant foliage relies on warm days and cool nights, which helps produce a chemical called anthocyanin that produces red and purple colors. Those same warm days and cool nights cause leaves to lose  chlorophyll, giving way to yellow and orange colors.

Drought can cause leaves to turn yellow, orange and red earlier and it can cause trees to drop their leaves early. That didn’t happen here, perhaps because of warm summer-ending temperatures. But some of those trees that are bursting with color right now may lose their leaves earlier because they’re stressed by the lack of water.

Some local hikers have noted that trees near creeks and other water sources appear to be more vibrant than those further away.

While drought didn’t seem to have had much impact on Sun Valley’s leaf peeping display this year, it could affect things to come.

Cobb Peak presides above trees sporting a fall wardrobe.

Prolonged and more extreme drought can cause root loss, slowed growth and make it harder for trees to protect themselves against pests and disease, according to Kaitlyn Weber, a data analyst for climate Central’s Climate Matters program in an article in “House Beautiful.”

Sun Valley-area residents are all too familiar with how drought can lead to beetle kill among lodgepole pine and Douglas fir. But, perhaps, they’re not so familiar with how a bad drought one year can lead to poorer foliage the next.

Hopefully, this winter will bring a bounty of snow to replenish the creeks and rivers, many of which have dried up. Even the Big Wood River is so low a dog can cross it without getting water above his ankles.

 Some say dry falls are often harbingers of good snow years—and we’ve certainly had a dry fall. And others have noted that wasps are building nests higher this year, which could mean the snow is going to be higher.

Leaves change color as trees stop taking in enough energy because of lower temperatures and shorter days.

Today may be the last nice warm day to enjoy the leaves throughout the Wood River Valley and just north of Ketchum, what with snow and rain predicted tonight along with lows in the 20s. If you do go out, remember to wear red.

Deer hunting season starts today. General any-weapon hunts start for deer in most units of the state today and a variety of elk hunts will begin this month, as well, according to Idaho Fish and Game.

Don’t have a license?

A Hunting Passport is available to hunters as young as 8 who’ve never had a hunting license. It’s part of Fish and Games’ program to allow any first-time hunter—resident or nonresident—to try hunting for a year with an adult mentor without first having to complete an Idaho hunter education course.

Even a tree amidst dead trees at a beaver pond at the foot of the Boulder Mountains sports a certain beauty.

Those with passports must still buy tags, and permits to participate.



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