Settling Into Late Autumn
Late fall came first of course to the higher elevations: by the last week of October the colors were long gone in the canyons above 8,000 feet and less than 2 weeks later the final transition from fall to winter was well underway a thousand feet below. As the yellows and reds dulled and the underbrush went dormant I found many of the places we’d been hiking newly transformed. There were still some rusted oak and maple leaves clinging to nearly-bare branches, but the lack of dense foliage in the canyons allowed me to better see the subtle characteristics of the mountains we now called home. The light too transformed as the sun became lower each day, often creating a warm glow that contrasted with the blue skies.
Just as the forest settled into winter, we also began to settle into the changes brought about by our move to the mountains. There was more time for things like reading and baking and pizza making – and more time in general spent enjoying the outdoors. Having recently turned 13, Abby decided she should retire from hiking dog life and so as we approached the new year our jaunts became shorter and slower and, I daresay, more sweet. I still did the occasional longer trek by myself but mostly I just settled into Abby’s new slower pace as our daily mileage dropped to 5 miles. Frankly this still allowed us to explore a great many places together, many of which still involved the usual scrambling, cross-country, canyon-climbing nonsense we’ve always gotten ourselves into. In between, Abbs was ecstatic at lounging on the sunny side of the new deck and sprawling naps in the grass. As an added bonus we had many, many elk visit our yard and the field across the street in the autumn months; I literally took hundreds of pictures and well over a dozen videos of “Elk TV” from our happy hours on the deck. All three of us were happy with the choice to call this place our home.