September 23, 2016


To me, summer is not hiking weather. Here in the Southeast, summer brings humidity, crowds, and mosquitos. The last thing I want to do with some precious time away is head off to a crowded trail, carry lots of water, and have to leave my adventure pup at home, so she doesn't get too hot. In the summer, I better have air conditioning or cold water nearby because I do not do well in the heat. With the seasons starting to change, though, I'm excited to talk about the best time of year.

Welcome to my favorite season: fall! My disdain for summer weather makes this time of year my absolute favorite. The sun is starting to set earlier and with it comes cooler nights. I leave my windows open. Soon those windows will bring in smells of wet leaves and then wood smoke. I could not be happier.

Here is my advice to have a great fall outdoors:

Slow It Down

There probably isn't a prettier time of year in the mountains. Now’s the time to slow down on a hike and take some pictures. Stay out for the sunset while the weather still allows it. Fall is the time to pack a picnic, ditch town, and head to an overlook to catch the views. Summer haze is gone, and the fall colors are upon us. Get outside!

Push Your Limits

When you're spending a summer day battling the heat and mosquitos, you won't have a good time trying to push yourself to new heights. Now that fall is here you can finally push yourself to do that long hike you've been waiting on. The days are getting shorter, though, so seize the moment now! A long day on the trail in fall is a great thing, especially when it's met with an evening around a campfire.

Try New Things

Fall always has me transitioning and adapting. I'll be cleaning the kayaks and putting them away for the season soon, but I'll also be breaking out backpacking gear just as fast. As long as the weather allows it, try new things!

If you're always pushing yourself on long, grueling trails, try taking a weekend to go car camping where you can bring a dutch oven and hot apple cider. You won't be sorry.

Many people spend their vacation time in the summer and want to head indoors at the first time of cold, which means that those crowded trails open up! Plan a weekend and get out somewhere new. I have a backpacking trip planned for late October in the hopes that I can skip the crowds and still catch the tail end of peak leaf season.

Take Advantage of Good Days and Reflect

I'll keep hiking long into the winter, but I realize not everyone enjoys misery as much as I do. It's important this time of year more than other time that you get out there when you can. If the weather is good, get outside! Your memories of great adventures will help cabin fever once winter hits. My best outdoors memories are from crisp days spent hiking through the woods this time of year. You really can't beat it.

I hope this got you excited about the possibilities of this great season! I'll be out and about a lot coming up and hope you will too. If I can help you plan adventures or suggest some great trails in the Southeast, I'd love to talk to you: @Jonathn_Roberts