Ah, September. Is there a perfect time to hike? If you live in the Northeast as I do, autumn, for me, is the perfect time. Next week I’m climbing Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks. The following week, it’s off to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I plan to round out my trip with a visit to Baxter State Park in Maine, where I hope to interview some Appalachian Trail thru-hikers.
You can feel fall in the air. The breezes on the ocean shore are a fond memory, and now I get more excited about breezes in woodlands and on mountain tops. The weather is cooler but invigorating. Colorful leaves, the smell of wood smoke, squirrels chasing nuts, harvest fairs; it all comes together for me in autumn, and the mountains are where I want to be.
I remember the pull of the mountains in autumn when my wife and I took our children every year to New Hampshire for a foliage weekend. The thrum of the engine and cables excited us as we squeezed into gondolas at Loon Mountain and were pulled to the top. The splendor of fall foliage surrounded us as we were towed ever higher. But I was happiest when we climbed out at the top and walked around the peak.
In later years we started climbing and exploring the White Mountains; Mt. Liberty, Mt. Osceola, The Flume. This was where my passion for hiking developed. It hasn’t abated–especially now that it is September. Turn off the TV, turn off your cell, shut down the computer. Load up your pack, pick up your sticks, and invite your friends for a hike in the mountains. It’s September in New England.