The crisp cool air. The smell of the moist leaves as they cover the ground. A dusting of snow on the mountain peaks. The bugle of an elk. These are all the things that come to mind when I think of fall.
In Montana, it seems like fall ended abruptly when we got dumped on with 6-10 inches of snow last week and 12 inches more just a couple of days later. It is supposed to warm back up to the 50’s soon and we will get to enjoy a few more days of fall before winter takes a firm grip. Here are a few ways to get outside and stretch those autumn days out.
- Go on a bike ride on a scenic trail.
- Bundle up and gaze at the stars. Grab a puffy blanket and camp chair, get away from the lights of town and point your eyes to the sky. If you aren’t sure what you are looking at or want help identifying constellations and planets, I highly recommend the app Night Sky. A cup of hot cocoa or other hot beverage also helps keep the chill at bay.
- Go on a fall hike. The colors this time of year are amazing. I love the yellow and orange of the leaves against snow-capped mountains and green pastures.
- Road Trip! Take a road trip and photograph the changing colors. Even if the best camera that you have is on your phone, it is fun to snap some pics to share later on Facebook or Instagram. The Gallatin Canyon has some beautiful leaves and lots of places to pull off the road and get close up with nature. Bonus: go earlier or later in the day to catch some wildlife out and about.
- Take a trip to a National or State Park. Montana has 2 of the biggies when it comes to National Parks – Glacier and Yellowstone. In addition, there are over 50 state parks in Montana. To find a state park and all the details go to http://stateparks.mt.gov/. One of my favorites is the Missouri Headwaters State Park near Three Forks. Bike riding, hiking, fishing, and photography are just a few of the most popular activities offered in this easily accessible, 532 acre park. This is a great place to take the whole family and offers something for everyone.
- S’mores. ‘nuf said. Seriously though. Gathering around a campfire or fire pit and sharing s'mores and stories with your family and friends = FUN & MEMORIES.
- Take a Nature Walk. Slow and easy is the pace. Get up close and personal with Mother Nature. Take a deep breath. Notice the bird calls, the crunch of the leaves under your feet, and the seasonal changes happening all around you. This is a great way to get outside and just relax.
- Visit a lake. Even if it has cooled off and you don’t want to dip your toes in the water, lakes offer their own kind of serenity. Hike around the lake, have a picnic, sit and read your book and soak up every last bit of the season that you can.
Don't forget to pack a picnic. It can be as simple as sandwiches, chips and your favorite beverage. A picnic packed in the back of the car while you are road tripping means you are ready to stop and enjoy that spot by the river when hunger strikes without forcing you to end the day. Grab your gal pals for any of these great activities and make it a girls day out. Being outside is fun, make it even better by grabbing a friend or two.