Fall: the Limited Edition
Fall is my favorite! The brilliant colors, the crisp leaves, the cool breezes with a hint of winter on their breaths.
As much as I love this season it always makes me feel a bit panicky. Since fall is a limited time offer, and the threat of winter only elevates its exclusivity, any moments not spent out in its golden and fiery hues seem a bit wasted. Once I sense that the countdown to the chill has begun, like the ticking of a bomb that is set to go off, I feel compelled to shove as much of autumn into my life as possible while I still can.
This year our fall here in Utah has been unbelievable. The weather has been beautiful and unseasonably warm so I have been especially determined not to squander what precious little is left of the loveliness. Jason and I, therefore, biked three different canyons in three consecutive weekends in a blatant attempt to savor the smell of decaying leaves and enjoy the slanted autumn sunshine: Millcreek, American Fork, and Provo. But biking alone didn’t satisfy my craving to be out in the midst of fall so we crammed as many other outdoor activities as we could into our already stuffed schedule.
The Millcreek Pipeline Trail was, as always, completely delightful but we got a little too distracted by the majestic scenery and somehow forgot about the early approach of darkness this time of year. So the last couple miles back to our car we had to ride like the Flash as our vision became increasingly obscured by the night. (Word to the wise: biking along the side of a cliff on a trail that’s a foot wide does not work well in the dark.)
The Great Western Trail to Pine Hollow up American Fork Canyon, one of our most frequented paths, was our second ride. We biked to my favorite meadow and even though its now-dry grasses weren’t nearly as beautiful as they are in the spring it was still a nice secluded spot for a quick break and snack.
Big Spring Hollow Trail up South Fork in Provo Canyon, the last ride in our three week bike extravaganza, was deliciously colorful and incredibly warm (high 70s). We hadn’t done this trail in a few years and I distinctly remembered the uphill section being very challenging. This time, however, it was no big deal. I guess recently training for a half marathon does have its perks. Oh the ego boost!
In addition to biking pretty much everywhere, we went rock climbing up American Fork Canyon with my friend David and took on the face of Eight to Eleven where his brother Danny fell and shattered his ankle bone last time we climbed. The memory of that accident gave me a lot of unexpected nerves as I tried to scale up at his fall spot. I got stuck once, probably partially due to my fear and partially due to my short arm span, and had to come down. But the boys convinced me to try once more and this time I relaxed and conquered it. I’m glad they didn’t let me give up because I am not prone to going easy on myself; I’m sure I would have regretted not pushing to the top…not to mention the bantering I surely would have received from those two had I called it quits.
We also took our friend Arvinder, who is visiting from India, up to Timpanogos Cave. He’s not accustomed to trekking straight up mountains but his heart survived the over 1,000 ft ascend and we all enjoyed the unusual innards of this national monument together. Since we were already up in the canyon, after we hiked to the cave we opted to take a detour to Cascade Springs on the way home and see how the season was altering that landscape. I have to say that although Cascade Springs is quite picturesque there are many places in our surrounding canyons that are just as lovely, if not more so, that don’t have dozens of people milling about them. So I think I’ll pass on Cascade Springs next time. Man! Good thing I have feet and a bike to take me to where you only have to do crowd control on chipmunks and mosquitoes.
Fall may be terminal but while it’s still kicking I hope I will get more opportunities to bike, hike, climb, or just read a good book in the backyard. It would be a shame to squander a season so colorful, pleasant, and fleeting.