Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year to be out in the woods and mountains. The summer heat is gone – as are the bugs! The mornings begin with a crisp hint of the colder weather to come, but then most days warm up – and if one is fortunate enough to get a sun shining day, the temperatures can be perfect for a long day of hiking.
In the spring, the hiker is greeted with every shade of green imaginable and myriad wild flower colors. But in my mind, nothing compares to the color feast Mother Nature presents us with in the autumn! A palate filled with reds, oranges and yellows interspersed with the greens of evergreens covers all the hillsides. The forest paths become paved with the gold of maple leaves. Crunching through fallen leaves brings back to mind the years of my childhood when we eagerly ran to school, right through all the leaf piles homeowners had nicely raked to the curbs for burning (back when people burned leaves in the fall). Those wonderful homeowners headed back out each day to re-rake their leaves – never scolding us children for making them rake several times – it was as if even the grownups enjoyed the chance to be outside in the crisp, colorful autumn air.
When hiking in the fall, there are some special precautions one needs to take. Wet leaf covered trails are very slippery – so use a hiking pole and boots with adequate tread to help stabilize you on slippery slopes. Additionally, autumn weather can bring surprises of cold, pelting rains. Always carry rain gear and carry a change of clothing secure inside a plastic bag in your pack. Wear bright colored fleece or jackets if hiking in areas where hunters might be found as well as blaze orange headgear.
Head out and enjoy the autumn weather – all too soon colorful autumn will yield to winter’s cold...and a differnt king of wonderland fun.