It’s officially Autumn – one of my favorite seasons. Normally, we’d be head deep in a straw bale maze, jumping into piles of leaves, finding the biggest pumpkin in the patch, or creating an adorable fall-themed craft. These have historically been some of my favorite fall activities (and an excuse to link to old, adorable pictures of my formerly-blond little buddies).
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This fall we’ve decided to upend our life and move to Europe. That means we are mostly going through all of the junk we’ve accumulated in the 11 years we have lived in this house. It’s way more than I expected. So I sort, sell, pack, giveaway, store, and trash all of our belongings. At the same time we are dealing with the logistics of leaving the country for a year. It’s hard to complain when, at the end of it, we will get to travel for a year or so, but it is still exhausting and super boring.
Fortunately, I have had a few days of fall celebration mixed in. And hiking is at the top of my list of favorite fall activities. It’s the best way to celebrate anything when there isn’t snow on the ground.
Livingston Peak, Absaroka Range
Anders and I have been talking about getting to the top of something all summer. It was time to get to it. We hiked Livingston Peak together. The mountain is the pyramidal shape we can see from our kitchen window or just about anywhere in town. Livingston Peak is the town’s mountain.
This was the first hike where I had to repeatedly ask Anders to wait for me. He was running up that mountain and talking non stop the whole time. I was heaving and trying to keep up. My endurance won out at the end when he tuckered out during the half hour scramble from the saddle to the peak. Slow and steady wins the race. Not that it was a competition.
Henry and I hiked up here a few years ago and you can find all the planning details on that post.
Beaver Pond Trail, Yellowstone National Park
I read somewhere that boys communicate differently than girls. No surprise there. Boys, apparently, are more comfortable talking when both parties are looking forward. No eye contact. Despite being a woman, this works better for me, too. So hiking is a great way to bond with my sons. Our bodies are occupied with moving forward, we are looking around, and we are free to chat about our inner feelings. This is especially true with Finn, who has a huge inner life and is still willing to open up about it. This kid is pretty deep.
We hiked the Beaver Pond Trail in Yellowstone. It’s close, it’s mellow, it’s pretty, and it’s just the right length for Finn.
The most exciting part of the day was being almost attacked by an elk in rut. This guy was feisty and unpredictably stomping around the parking lot making sure we all knew it was his harem on the grass and that we should stay back. He was bugling, too, which was cool, but we were a little nervous until we got onto the trail.
The walk was lovely, the conversation was enlightening, and Finn has turned into quite the hiker after years of complaints. I could do this every day.
Beaver Pond Loop hike planning details here.
Other ways to Fall in Love with Yellowstone.
Deep Creek, Absaroka Range
My friend, Heather came up from Jackson, Wyoming to wish us Bon Voyage. It was the perfect opportunity to escape the planning details of our trip and house sale and head for the woods. Deep Creek is a trail I have walked in all seasons for the last 11 years. A few summers ago, it burned in the Pine Creek fire.
Thanks to all that sunlight hitting the ground and the lack of competition from trees, the fall foliage has exploded. Heather and I could not get over the colors. We had to keep stopping to exclaim how beautiful it was. And take pictures. And catch my breath.
Since fall is the season for giving thanks (I know all year should be that way), I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to the people that got me onto the trail during this busy season. Anders, Finn, and Heather made this early fall one to remember. Thanks for joining me in my favorite fall activities – hiking and connecting with people I love.