Loving Autumn in the Utah Mountains: A Preview

Since I arrived back in Utah three weeks ago I’ve been inspired by the coming of – and now the arrival of – autumn in the mountains. On my walks in the morning I am looking up to see the change in colors, and almost every afternoon I have found myself walking through forest and high meadows, enjoying the cool air and watching as the aspens morph into fiery yellow glowsticks, first at ten thousand feet, then nine, then eight.

After months of humidity on our trip around Lake Superior and New York followed by hot September days here at the base of the mountains, I feel invigorated by the bite of the early morning air and the midday chill at the higher elevations despite the strong sun, and I have been reminded of all the reasons why I love fall. Spring has the coming of light – which I absolutely crave – but fall brings a relief of sorts and is a time when the days have the perfect amount of warmth, the nights are cool for restful sleeping, and the views of the leaves are turning dramatic colors.

I hadn’t really given too much thought to the actual beginning of autumn as per the calendar until I read two blog posts (by Liz and Lina) regarding what they loved most about the season. It made me more aware of all the things of the season that I’m enjoying right now, and ultimately, how appreciative I am to be here – by these mountains, doing many of the things I love most. It feels so wonderful and right to be exactly where I am. I feel incredibly blessed that I wake up every morning overflowing with happiness, that I get to do so many of the things I love to do during my favorite season, and that I go to sleep every night having enjoyed another day in my life.

Happy at Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah

Happy at Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah

What I love most about autumn? Hiking in the cool air and under clear skies in the mountains. Baking pumpkin bread. Wearing flannel. Also, fleece pants. Roasting vegetables. Snuggling up on cool nights. Morning walks in the brisk air. Reading in the evenings. Other things I’ve been enjoying during these early weeks of fall? Taking photos of the changing colors. Smelling the rich caramels of the ponderosa pines. Creating a recipe for vegan caramel. Using said vegan caramel on top of my new zucchini apple muffin recipe. Exploring dirt forest roads. Enjoying Oktoberfest at the local ski resort. And again, hiking in the mountains.

So, with my love of autumn declared, I now give you a preview of sorts – a taste of the southern Utah mountains in early September – before bringing you back to Ontario in my next blog post.

Fishlake National Forest, Utah

Fishlake National Forest, Utah

Navajo Lake Loop Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Navajo Lake Loop Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Picking wild raspberries, Navajo Lake Loop Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Picking wild raspberries, Navajo Lake Loop Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Yellow meadows in Fishlake National Forest, Utah

Yellow meadows in Fishlake National Forest, Utah

Berries on the Blowhard Mountain Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Berries on the Blowhard Mountain Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Seeing red patches while driving up the mountains south of Cedar City, Utah

Seeing red patches while driving up the mountains south of Cedar City, Utah

Mountains south of Cedar City, Utah

Mountains south of Cedar City, Utah

Turning aspens at 9,000 feet, Utah

Turning aspens at 9,000 feet, Utah

Turning aspens at 9,000 feet, Utah

Turning aspens at 9,000 feet, Utah

Mountain pasture, Utah

Mountain pasture, Utah

Sidney Peaks Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Sidney Peaks Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Sidney Peaks Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Sidney Peaks Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Sidney Peaks Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Sidney Peaks Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Blazing orange stand of aspens near Brian Head, Utah

Blazing orange stand of aspens near Brian Head, Utah

Near Brian Head Peak, Utah

Near Brian Head Peak, Utah

Turning yellow on the Rattlesnake Creek Trail, Ashdown Gorge Wilderness, Utah

Turning yellow on the Rattlesnake Creek Trail, Ashdown Gorge Wilderness, Utah

Meadow on Rattlesnake Creek Trail, Ashdown Gorge Wilderness, Utah

Meadow on Rattlesnake Creek Trail, Ashdown Gorge Wilderness, Utah

Sniffing the caramels of the massive Ponderosa Pine on the Rattlesnake Creek Trail, Ashdown Gorge Wilderness, Utah

Sniffing the caramels of the massive Ponderosa Pine on the Rattlesnake Creek Trail, Ashdown Gorge Wilderness, Utah

Roadside yellows coming out, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Roadside yellows coming out, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Looking at multi-colored Brian Head Peak from Twisted Forest, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Looking at multi-colored Brian Head Peak from Twisted Forest, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Oktoberfest at Brian Head Ski Resort, Utah

Oktoberfest at Brian Head Ski Resort, Utah

Walking some forest roads and meadows, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Walking some forest roads and meadows, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Meadow in Dixie National Forest, Utah

Meadow in Dixie National Forest, Utah

Dixie National Forest, Utah

Dixie National Forest, Utah

Yellow aspens around a meadow, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Yellow aspens around a meadow, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Enjoying the Virgin River Rim Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Enjoying the Virgin River Rim Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Walk on the first day of autumn, Yankee Meadows, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Walk on the first day of autumn, Yankee Meadows, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Walk on the first day of autumn, Yankee Meadows Reservoir, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Walk on the first day of autumn, Yankee Meadows Reservoir, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Yellow aspens on the rim of the Yankee Meadows Reservoir, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Yellow aspens on the rim of the Yankee Meadows Reservoir, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Want to see more photos of the local fall colors? I know you do: Check out this blog.