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The foothills of the Sierras is a very special subset of the range. While snow still can dust even the lowest elevations, it also generally melts within a day or so. The lower grasslands were home to Tule elk, but their role in the ecosystem is now covered by cattle and horses.

Spring turns the rolling hillsides a brilliant green broken only by carpets of wildflowers. And the ever encroaching almond orchards. Travel further up and you’ll reach the oak woodlands, my other favorite biome. The shade is welcome in the summer.