California Today: California Today: Autumn’s First Blush

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A view from South Lake Road in Bishop Creek Canyon, just west of Bishop, on Saturday. Credit Naresh Satyan

Good morning.

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“Dude, autumn happens here too.”

So writes John Poimiroo, a travel writer who can understably be a little defensive about California’s fall foliage.

Mr. Poimiroo runs californiafallcolor.com, the go-to website for reports on when and where the state’s trees are swapping their summer greens for reds, oranges and yellows.

Fall officially started last Friday. As if on cue, a day earlier a cold front moved in to kick start the season, dropping several inches of snow on higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada.

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Since then, reports from Mr. Poimiroo’s army of volunteer leaf-spotters have been trickling in from elevations around 10,000 feet in the Eastern Sierra counties of Mono and Inyo, where the aspens and willows are now changing color.

“We’re like one week out from it being ridiculously good,” said Jared Smith, general manager at Parchers Resort near South Lake, in the Inyo National Forest.

In contrast to the East Coast, where the autumn hues sweep from north to south, California’s colors parade down the mountains, starting in the high country in September and ending at the palm trees on the desert floor as late as December.

That means in California, with its extreme topography, weekend travelers can find their way to fall foliage for much longer. Our recent wet winter is only expected to strengthen the displays this year.

“You have late September and October, there’s a lot of peak, particularly in the Sierra,” said Mr. Poimiroo. “Then into November you start to see the vineyards going. So we have such varied fall colors.”

But if you want to catch the first blush of fall in the Eastern Sierra, the time to plan is now.

Check out some photos taken there in the last fewweeks:

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A burst of color in Bishop Creek Canyon on Sunday. Credit Clayton Peoples Photo

A patch of the trees turned gold a couple weeks ago near Rock Creek Lake in the Inyo National Forest. Credit Amy Miller Photo

Sagehen Summit, in Mono County, last Wednesday. Credit Alicia Vennos

Want to submit your fall foliage photos for possible publication? You can do it here.

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California Online

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Residents watched as a wildfire burned in the hillsides of Corona on Monday. Credit Kyle Grillot/Reuters

• A fast-moving wildfire that started near the Anaheim-Corona border surged to more than three square miles forcing evacuations and threatening hundreds of homes. [The Press-Enterprise]

• California is taking the sparring between President Trump and North Korea seriously. Last month, a bulletin was issued urging officials to shore up their nuclear attack response plans. [Foreign Policy]

• A decades-long battle over a proposed development in the Santa Clarita Valley ended in a deal with environmental groups that will allow a new city of 58,000 residents to be built. [Los Angeles Times]

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A viaduct in Fresno that would carry California’s high speed rail. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

California’s bullet train was supposed to be completed in the San Joaquin Valley by this Saturday. It’s not even close. [Fresno Bee]

• Childcare funding, parental leave and diaper changing tables — A bunch of California state lawmakers have young children and it’s affecting policy-making decisions. [The Mercury News]

• “The only reason ‘integrative medicine’ exists is to integrate quackery into medicine.” A $200-million donation to U.C. Irvine’s medical school is raising hackles among some doctors. [Opinion | Los Angeles Times]

• A group is paying $1,500 a week for a billboard along the Bay Bridge with a picture of President Trump and the word “Impeach.” [KTVU]

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Police surrounded the student union building on the U.C. Berkeley campus this month, when conservative commentator Ben Shapiro spoke on campus. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

• Why should universities like U.C. Berkeley have to pay millions to host speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos? [Opinion | The New York Times]

• California’s whale tail license plates — now celebrating 20 years — have been one of state’s most successful environmental programs. [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]

• A group is suing in a California court to force Starbucks and other companies to post cancer warnings for their coffee, citing a chemical byproduct of the roasting process. [The Associated Press]

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Mark Zuckerberg may be learning what it’s like to be Dr. Frankenstein. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Facebook piled up the rubles and turned a blind eye as the Kremlin’s cyber hit men weaponized anti-Hillary bots, writes Maureen Dowd. [Opinion | The New York Times]

• “It’s like trying to find one of your eyelashes in Disneyland.” A retired builder has spent decades as a search-and-rescue volunteer in the California mountains. He’s helped recover 66 bodies. [The Tribune]

• A Los Angeles Daily News photographer spent a year making portraits of the area’s homeless and asking them what they wanted to say. The results are heart-wrenching. [Los Angeles Daily News]

N.F.L. Protest

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Colin Kaepernick, right, and Eric Reid kneeling during the national anthem before an N.F.L. game last year. Credit Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Eric Reid, a safety for the San Francisco 49ers, wrote in The New York Times Opinion Section about his decision to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem.

“It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel,” he wrote. “We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite.”

On Sunday, N.F.L. players demonstrated in a show of solidarity against after President Trump after he scolded the league over sideline protests.

And Finally …

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San Diego’s Ocean Beach last week. A survey gave the city a strong ranking for the well-being of its residents. Credit Arturo Pena

Are you happy?

If you live in California, the odds would seem to be in your favor.

A new survey by the website WalletHub crunched data on depression, income, community involvement and dozens of other metrics and found that California was the country’s fourth happiest state.

Minnesota was No. 1, followed by Utah and Hawaii.

There’s no magic formula to happiness, but scientists have learned a few things about how people get there.

Relationships, gratitude, exercise, nature and genes are some of the ingredients they’ve cited.

Weather too, many assume, must also play a role, though the research on that has been mixed.

Even so, California’s year-round sunshine can’t hurt.

A separate survey this year by Gallup-Healthways interviewed thousands of Americans to measure their well-being across nearly 190 metropolitan areas.

Among the 25 highest-ranked areas nationwide, six were situated in nearly perfect climes along the Pacific Coast — Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Salinas, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and San Diego.

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.

The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Los Osos. Follow him on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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Source: New York Times

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