September 23 – There’s Gold ON Them Thar Hills (9/17-9/21)

As expected, Nome landscapes on this trip were very different in appearance from Nome landscapes in August, and even different from Nome a couple of weeks before in early September. It seemed like the whole place glowed golden, even when there was mist all around or light rain. I was very lucky that except at the very end of the trip, there was only light rain, and not very much of that. As I came back to Nome however on my last day of the trip, there was the only heavy rain of the trip. I had been up in the hills near Council, where there was frost on some of the hills (photos below). Even then the golden hills and valleys, often interspersed with numerous patterns of reds and greens and browns, were still amazingly beautiful.

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Following is a selection from the very, very many photos that I took of the scenery as I drove the three main roads that lead out of Nome:

Kougarok Road scenes:

A few closer views of the colorful vegetation along Kougarok Road:

Teller Road scenes:

And some closer views:

Council Road scenes:

Views of frosty plants on the morning of September 21:

Of course, I again need to post photos of fireweeds (one of my favorite plants). They long ago ceased blossoming and they no longer have brilliant red leaves, but the remaining touches of red on the leaves and the white fluffs are still striking:

My last set of photos shows scenes of what I saw when I looked away from the hills out to sea, the colors changing to blues instead of yellows. Whenever I was on my way somewhere and the ocean was in view, I usually stopped to take a photo:

I will soon post photos of birds, mostly big birds, as most of the little birds have already flown away to escape the coming winter, and also photos of some of the mammals seen on this trip.

What is called the first day of autumn in the Lower 48 is for all practical purposes the first day of winter here in much of Alaska. I’ll be back to Nome at least one more time this year, probably needing to wear my heavy parka and tall boots, as I see which birds are still around. Sometimes I do miss the warmer climes, but there is very little that I have seen elsewhere that can begin to rival the natural beauty in Alaska.

 

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