Reds of Autumn
Unlike the Lower 48, most of Alaska doesn’t have certain large deciduous trees that produce such brilliant reds and oranges in autumn (maple, hickory, ash, oak). Coniferous trees dominate our expansive boreal forests. The large deciduous trees we do have—cottonwoods, aspen, and birch—turn yellow and orange, but seldom red. So you can imagine my surprise in discovering this hillside of reds and oranges—the most colorful I have discovered within a 50-mile radius of Anchorage. Though it looks a bit like the forests of the Lower 48, the reds in this case come from short alder trees. I was fascinated by how they appeared to flow up the hillside in a way reminiscent of the fall colors of the Midwest and Northeast US where I grew up.