Every birch, cottonwood, poplar, aspen and willow tree was raging in shades of gold and yellow as my wife and I pulled into the frontier town of Talkeetna. It was September in Alaska and we were on the tail end of our annual fall colors & aurora hunt and there was gold in them thar hills! But the crown jewel, Mt. McKinley, lay partially veiled behind a layer of clouds. After a couple of days of waiting for the clouds to clear with no luck we headed south, homeward bound for Anchorage. In the gray skies the wind was whipping the leaves off the trees at an alarming rate signifying the end of the season was near.
Four days later our phone rang and the owner of the photo gallery in Talkeetna enthusiastically stated; "The Mountain's Out!" (thanks, Beth!). Two and a half hours later I was at my post as the magic hour of sunset was close at hand. I was amazed at how many leaves had dropped in just a few short days but the ones still hanging on radiated like golden nuggets in the setting sun.
And over 50 miles away, jutting high into the clear blue skies, was the Alaska Range and its well-known trio of peaks (from left-to-right); Mts. Foraker, Hunter and McKinley, aka Denali (20,320'). "Alaska Gold" as far as the eye could see.