I've seen this species in the Eastern Sierra and I'm wondering if this tall, light beige flower is what I'm seeing in Contra Costa County today?
Cirsium is a genus of perennial and biennial flowering plants in the Asteraceae, one of several genera known commonly as thistles. They are more accurately known as Plume thistles. These differ from other thistle genera (Carduus, Silybum and Onopordum) in having feathered hairs to their achenes. The other genera have a pappus of simple unbranched hair.