…Nature, who is superior to all style and ages, is now, with pensive
face, composing her poem Autumn, with which no work will be to
–Thoreau, A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERIMACK RIVERS
Every season in the outdoors has something to offer.
Winter is a time of skiing. Where the peaks are covered in deep powder, the sun is shining brightly, and the sky is an intense blue. An almost magical feeling is had gliding along the powder and through the trees and hearing a Schuush! sound while being propelled downhill. A time to get to a frozen lake, enjoy the mountains around you and sip some cocoa still hot in the thermos.
Spring has the Earth coming to life with fields of green, birds singing and the days grow longer. The foothills abound with wildflowers and the trails I have not hiked in months are rediscovered.
Summer? The high country is again opened up. The mountains can again be climbed. That special lake off-trail and deep in the backcountry can be seen again, and the mountain sides are covered in Indian Paintbrush, Columbine, Glacier Lilies and other flowers that form a riot of color over the landscape.
But my favorite time is a fleeting period of perhaps six weeks or so long. This time is called Autumn. A time when the air is crisp and the nights are cool. When there is a damp and pungent smell of decaying leaves.
The tundra and ground cover are turning a russet color, and the aspens are gold.
The elks bugling can be heard over the distant ridge and a small campfire with its sound of crackling wood, smell of smoke and the enticing orange flames seem only to accentuate the feeling.
I love this time of the year and it is perhaps my favorite time to be outside.
It comes on slowly with the first bit of coolness in the mountain morning that fades quickly in the warm, later summer sun.
But then the season comes on quickly. The days are a bit cooler. The air is refreshing. The sun is out but not hot.
Then the season exits just as fast. The ground is covered in a frost the never leaves. The snows come and never melts.
Autumn is brief time to be cherished, embraced and enjoyed.
The days may be shorter, but the quality of light makes the photos memorable.
The crowds are less.
The insects are gone.
And I honestly think it is the best time to be outside.
But words only do so much. The smells, the feeling of the air on the skin as evening approaches and the views are all part of why I love this time of the year.
It is now September 6th, 2012.
Time to get outside.
And enjoy my favorite time of the year.