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October 4, 2009 / Greg Vaughn

Autumn is upon us.

Mount Baker from Yellow Aster Butte Trail.

Mount Baker from Yellow Aster Butte Trail.

Only a few weeks ago photographers in the Pacific Northwest were still shooting wildflowers in the alpine areas of the Cascade Mountains. With the Autumn Equinox just behind us, we’re now looking for Fall color in many of the same places. I ventured up into the northern and central Cascades of Washington state recently in search of the red, orange and golden leaves that make this season wonderful. My impression is that, just as the wildflowers were a couple of weeks late this year, the warm spell we’ve had in early autumn is causing a delay in the Fall color as well. Most the areas that I visited were just showing the first signs of leaves turning, whereas on a trip to many of the same places two years ago at this time the color was at peak.

I did find some very nice color by hiking the Yellow Aster Butte Trail in the Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest in the northwest corner of Washington. Some of the huckleberry bushes were a beautiful deep red (and the berries incredibly delicious!). Mountain ash with yellow leaves and bunches of bright red berries added to the color. This trail is also great for wildflowers in the Spring and is tops for scenery in any season with views of alpine tarns, Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker.

The first two weeks of October should be great for Fall color in mountain areas all over Oregon and Washington – get out an enjoy it as soon as you can!


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