Late September is that time of the year for many activities

Fall colors:

The most prominent thing that is occurring is the change in the color of the leaves of the trees and bushes.

If you haven't noticed, the leaves are gradually beginning to take on the brilliant, bright, beautiful colors associated with that annual change in seasons.

Those fall colors are not yet at their most spectacular stage but they are rapidly getting there.

I had been cooped up all week at home with a combination of a sore back and a bad cold and finally, last Sunday, felt well enough to venture out of the house. Elaine and I took a leisurely, afternoon ride, up to the Hope Valley area of Alpine County, Calif. in the hopes that we might see some very early fall colors on the Quaking Aspen.

We were not disappointed.

Currently, the best colors are located in the grove in the short distance between Sorensen's Resort and Pickett's Junction (the highway to South Lake Tahoe). Although, they are not yet breathtaking, they were well worth taking the time to see and photograph.

Blue Lakes Road:

While on that Sunday afternoon drive, we also took the Blue Lakes Road to see how the road construction is coming along. That road extends for about 12 miles from Hope Valley to the Blue Lakes area.

For as many years as I can remember, the first six miles was a paved road and the last six were a rough, dirt road that would shake your teeth out if you did not drive very slow.

On Sunday, I was totally dazzled!

They have done a remarkable job.

The road is newly paved all the way from S.R. 88 to the junction of the road to Tamarack Lake.

Dave Kirby of the Woodfords General Store said that he has been told that the paving will be completed to Blue Lakes by the end of the week.

When you are go to see the fall colors in the Hope Valley area, also take the time to ride on that brand-new Blue Lakes Road and I guarantee that you, too, will be very impressed.

Fishing season opener:

Pyramid Lake, located about 30 miles north of Sparks, will re-open to Lahontan cutthroat trout fishing on Oct. 1. This season will extend through June 30.

You must fish with artificial flies or lures only. There is a two-trout possession limit. You can keep two trout which are 16-19 inches in length or you can keep one trout 16-19 inches plus one trout over 24 inches.

You will be fishing on the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation and will need a tribal fishing and boating permit.

According to a spokesperson for the Gilly Sporting Goods Store on Monday, those permits are $7 for daily fishing, $7 for a daily boat, $50 for annual fishing or $50 for an annual boat.

You do not need a Nevada fishing license or a Nevada Trout Stamp.

To reach Pyramid Lake, take U.S. 395 north from Carson City to I-80 in Reno. Then, take I-80 east to the Pyramid Way Exit in Sparks. Take Pyramid Way and the Pyramid Lake Highway north for about 30 miles to the lake.

For information, call the Pyramid Lake Store at Sutcliffe at (775) 476-0555 or the Gilly Sporting Goods Store in Sparks at 358-6113.

Fishing seasons closing:

-- Fort Churchill Cooling Ponds, located in Lyon County, will close to fishing on Sept. 30. They will re-open on the second Saturday in February.

-- Hinkson Slough, plus Bass, Crappie, Bluegill and North Ponds and that portion of the Walker River within the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area, all located in Lyon County, will close to fishing on Sept. 30.

These waters will re-open on the second Saturday in February.

-- Hobart Reservoir, located in the mountains between Carson City and Lake Tahoe, will close to fishing on Sept. 30. It will re-open on May 1.

For information, call the Fisheries Bureau of the Nevada Division of Wildlife in Reno at 688-1500.

-- Topaz Lake, located along U.S. 395 on the Nevada-California stateline, south of Carson City, will close to fishing on Sept. 30. It will re-open on Jan. 1.

For information, call the Topaz Lake Marina at (775) 266-3550.

-- Heenan Lake in California will close on the last Sunday in October.

Heenan Lake will re-open on the Friday before Labor Day, 2004.

It has a number of special restrictions: The limit is zero fish. This is a "catch and release" lake. You can only use artificial flies or lures, with barbless hooks. The fishing hours are from sunrise to sunset.

You must park outside the locked gate and gasoline boat motors are not permitted on the lake.

For information, call the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce at 916-694-2478 during business hours.

-- Apple Hill, Calif.

For all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Drive west on U.S. 50 toward Sacramento until you reach the Carson Exit, just before Placerville.

An easy way to get there is to remember to drive on U.S. 50 from "Carson to Carson." This is about a 2-hour drive.

Apple Hill is actually the name for a geographic area of some 40 different farms, whose main attraction is apples, apples and more apples.

You can buy them by the individual apple, the bag, the box or you can pick your own, right off the trees.

You can select from a wide variety of types including Rome beauty, Arkansas black, Braeburn, golden delicious, red delicious, Fuji, gala, Rhode Island greening, Jonagold, Jonathan, pippin, Paula red, Granny Smith and winesaps.

In addition, you can also purchase all kinds of tasty apple products such as cake, cider, doughnuts, fritters, juice, muffins, baked pies, unbaked pies, strudel, turnovers, etc.

If you are interested in buying other fall season fruits or vegetables, you can pick and choose from blackberries, blueberries, Indian corn, dried fruit, grapes, honey, jams, jellies, assorted nuts, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, pumpkins, raspberries, etc.

And while at Apple Hill, you will find many different arts and crafts shops, cider mills, a rainbow trout fishing pond, a winery, Christmas tree farms, picnic areas, pumpkin patches, etc.

Finally,

Those selected things occurring in this area do not even include a major activity for Little Donnie Q.

That activity will be the opener of his long-awaited, rifle, buck deer hunting season on Oct. 4. I can hardly wait!

-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you my all-time favorite location for seeing and photographing fall colors on Quaking Aspen trees.

If he grins and says, "That's easy, for years that favorite location has been just past the cattleguard where the Crater Lake/Alpine Mine dirt road leaves Calif. S.R. 88 in Hope Valley," he has been on one of my many photographic trips to that part of Hope Valley.

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