As a New England native, naturally one of my favorite times of year is autumn. Nature comes alive (even as it kind of dies out) in a giant tapestry of colors that seem almost unnatural. Reds and oranges and yellows turn the landscape into a blanket that warms you even as temperatures drop. As the leaves dry up and gently fall to the ground, the cool, crisp air signals a change in not only the weather, but also my mindset as I prepare for the oncoming cold temperatures and short days of winter.
Autumn is probably my favorite time of year to go camping. The air is dry, the temperatures stay warm during the day and cool at night, and things just feel cozier than they do during any other season of the year. Pitching my tent in a backwoods campground and brewing up a pot of tea or cocoa as the sun rises is, to me, the ideal way to spend time outdoors. Days are filled with hiking to high spots to see the amazing foliage; evenings are spent around a campfire, warming my hands as the dry wood crackles and pops; nights are spent wrapped in a warm sleeping bag, reading a favorite book by head lamp or just staring up at the stars.
It’s a time of year for preparation and reflection, when we ready ourselves for winter hibernation (here in the northern climes, at least). Toss on a pair of jeans and a favorite flannel shirt, head outside, and begin gathering firewood, all the while making lists of things that need doing around camp. Whether a cabin deep in the woods or a sleeping bag by a river, camping in autumn offers a unique opportunity to think about where we’ve been and where we plan to go in life. Away from all my digital devices, I can gain bolster my footing, regaining my focus, and regenerating my mind. Yes, even my spirit and soul are rejuvenated, if I allow them to be.
Autumn is my favorite time of year, for these and many more reasons, and although I sometimes feel the pressure of the long nights and short days of winter bearing down on me, I know I can rely on autumn to calm my worries.