Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thars Gold in them Thar Hills
Larches set the Kettle Mountains aglow in a golden hue
When it come to spectacular Autumn foliage, it's hard to beat the deciduous forests of the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Here in the Pacific Northwest a few vine maples and a handful of shrubs add a nice tint of red-but the dominant hardwoods-alders and big leaf maples just turn a brownish yellow. Blah! However, on the east side of the Cascade Crest, a deciduous softwood-the larch makes up for any color-challenged trees here on the wet west side. And no where in Washington are there so many larches than in the northeast corner of the state. The Kettle Mountains contain sprawling stands of them. Head out to Sherman Pass right now and hoof a few miles on the Kettle Crest Trail. Look out-especially over the Sherman Creek Valley to the east and enjoy a horizon of golden hills. Hurry though-the needles are now falling like golden snowflakes-and it won't be much longer before snow begins carpeting these hills.

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