You may have noticed the signs: local ski swaps approaching, bike gear going on sale, shorts retreating to the back of the closet, the return of visible breath. Winter is coming. For those at higher elevations, it’s certainly not far off. Soon we’ll be trading trucker hats for beanies, pulling the sleds out of the garage, carving fresh lines, and sipping hot toddies by the fireplace. As much as we love the season of snow (we love it a LOT), we think fall has a magic of its own. Before that first snowfall, it’s the best time to enjoy what mother nature has to offer without the crowds and unbearable heat.
We put together a list of things to do before breaking out the shovels and beacons. To be achieved in a single day or over a few weekends, we challenge you to carpe autumn with this fall bucket list.
Do that High Traffic Hike
You know that hike that’s less like a trail and more like an interstate? If you’re the kind of person that prefers to see more trees than people in the woods, you’re probably avoiding some beautiful areas due to crowds. Now’s your chance to enjoy them! Tourist season drops with the temperature, so when the leaves start dropping, Thundercats are go! Load up the packs and the pups (if allowed) and enjoy the silence of a high traffic trail on the shoulder season.
Ride a New Trail
That double black diamond you’ve been eyeing on Trailforks is calling your name. You’ve perfected your skills all summer long, and now it’s time to push yourself before putting your bike away for the season. Try a new trail your friends recommend or conquer that feature you’ve been bypassing. An added benefit of colder temps mean less people will be around to witness a wipeout.
Take a Dip in a Lake
Soon those turquoise alpine lakes will be frozen over. Might as well jump in now while you have the chance! A little bone-chilling cold never hurt anyone, right? Make sure you set a towel, warm clothes, and maybe some hot coffee on the dock or shore for post-polar plunge reheating.
Watch the Sunset in a Hammock
Hammocks tend to fill up fast if it’s snowing. Kick back and relax in a hammock to rest those leg muscles so they’re ready for powder turns. Grab a drink (and a buddy if it’s chilly) and toast the changing of the seasons. Bonus points if you tie it to trees with orange leaves.
Cook a Meal by Campfire
Here in the PNW, it has been a rough fire season. Thankfully, we’re finally seeing the blazes die down and fire restrictions have been lifted. Now’s the perfect time to build a campfire and whip up a hot meal before your firewood is buried under the snow.
Sleep Under the Stars
It won’t be long until you start the morning with a few inches of snow gracing the top of your tent. Take advantage of the fair weather now by spending one more night sleeping under the starry sky. Grab your sleeping bag and drift off in plain air or in a tent, rainfly-free. Check the forecast beforehand to avoid waking up at 3am to a surprise shower.
Even if you’re winter’s biggest fan, you can pray for snow and enjoy the fresh air while it’s still a little warm. Go revel in those vibrant colors, and don’t forget to tag us in your fall bucket list photos!