Sweetgum tree with green pods
Liquidambar Trees, or sweet gums, the colorfully deciduous trees gracing front yards, parks, and campuses throughout the San Diego area, have been putting on a good show for the past month. The maplelike leaves of some varieties have turned from green to purple to red; the leaves of other varieties have faded to a golden yellow. Other varieties will hold on to their leaves until the New Year. Most will regain their foliage by late February.
Hike to San Diego County’s High Places to take advantage of December’s characteristically clear air. From spots such as Cuyamaca Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Wooded Hill in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, and Boucher Hill at Palomar Mountain State Park, vistas stretching a hundred miles across the Pacific Ocean are not uncommon at this time of year. Look for the dark profiles of Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands, lying northwest and west of San Diego, respectively.