In case you are unaware (as I was before my retreat from the left coast) autumn in the Redoubt can be quite beautiful – even if you’re not in the prime Yellowstone region.

One of my military tours was at a base in the Seattle region, so I expected the Northwest to either look like the Western WA and OR evergreen, or else like hard scrabble cattle country (based on cross country drivers through Southern WY.)

The last big city I lived in was in the New England area and I thought the New England Autumn would be reduced to a mere memory. But the Redoubt surprised me. I regularly drive through the area in that feature image, and it really does look like that.

In the NW corner of the Redoubt, there is a decent mix of deciduous trees, perhaps 30-40%. This is good because you get some fall color instead of the permanent green of the north pacific coast. But more importantly, unlike New England, winter does not result in loss of cover and concealment. New England may have looked great in the autumn, but then in winter one can notice many houses that were normally hidden during the rest of the year – “check out that mansion on the hill there, through the dormant trees. Never noticed that before, but there it is!” In the NW Redoubt, having a majority of evergreens means you keep your concealment year round.

A tamarack with needles turning yellow in early autumn.

But the real surprise is a type of tree called Tamarack. During most of the year, it makes a good impression of an evergreen. But come autumn, the needles change from green to yellow and then flame orange. It’s prevalent up by the Canadian border west of the Rockies (west MT and north ID).

Tamarack needles in the flame-orange phase.

I tried to get a local photo to share with readers, but I may have missed the optimal lighting. It was a blue-sky day but the angle of the sun resulted in some false haziness in the picture.

Tamarack and evergreens.

Nevertheless, driving through the Redoubt in autumn is quite colorful. It’s not New England, but I’d rate it as 2nd best autumn (visually) of all the dozen or so places I’ve lived in the USA. For all the other positives offered at the Redoubt, I’d chose it over New England any day.