It never fails, come July or August of every year, I am over summer and ready for fall (I might also be kind of ready for Christmas around this time, but please don’t tell anyone). This year, my yearnings for autumn came a bit later due to the fact that I was still happily enjoying a perfect island summer in Hawaii in August.
But now that I’ve been home for over a month, my desire for fall has kicked in hard core! Now, what do I love about fall? What am I looking forward to? Well for starters, cooler weather! Unfortunately, I live in Florida and will most likely still be sporting flip-flops come January. *sigh*
I also look forward to boots, sweaters, hot drinks, evening fires in the fireplace (okay, I know these all go along with the cooler weather aspect of fall which we don’t experience in Florida, but a girl can dream, right?), pumpkin anything, college football, soup and flannel sheets.
But my biggest yearning as this delightful season approaches, is to be able to enjoy it while in the mountains. I will never be able to give a resolution to the mountains vs. beach debate, but during this time of year, my wish is for MOUNTAINS above anything else!
Fall in the mountains…does it get any better than that? Although I will most likely be spending the season in Florida this year, that hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of being further up north, surrounded by amazing beauty, enjoying cooler temperatures, where boots and sweaters are required apparel. 🙂
My dreams of fall in the mountains always involve some hiking. I love a good trek through the woods! Especially when that trek provides views like this at the end:
Now, I can’t take credit for that photo because it required a climb up this:
And I looked like this at the time:
But at least I made it to the final destination! I couldn’t walk for the next two days but that’s another story…
One of my greatest fears in life is crossing streams. And yes, I’m talking about streams that are as shallow as six inches. I’m not sure where this fear came from, but I discovered it when I started enjoying the pastime of hiking. There’s just something about traversing a body of water via slippery, widely spaced apart rocks that gets my heart pounding and my limbs trembling.
Most people I’ve hiked with traipse across these obstacles with the ease of a gazelle, then find a comfortable spot to sit on the other side to wait out the thirty minutes it takes me to gingerly make my way across. When I came across this trail sign I had to get my picture taken with it because it pretty much sums up my appearance after most of the streams I have crossed (which could be why I dislike crossing them so much):
One of my greatest enjoyments of the trips to the mountains I’ve taken with my family, is spending quality time with my dad. He and I will go on daily walks/hikes and I love this time we have together!
I also love to see the wildlife you come across while in the mountains. The one and only time I saw a bear in the wild was while driving a treacherously foggy mountain road in North Carolina with my family. As we crept along at a speedy 20 mph, we saw this guy:
He was kind enough to hang around until we could get a good photo of him. Then he promptly told us we were insane to be driving through this fog, so we took his advice and went back home.
Other wildlife you should expect to come across whilst in the mountains are deer, wild turkeys, and of course, llamas. What’s that? You don’t look for llamas while you’re visiting mountainous regions? Well you should. At least you should if you’re ever in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Fields of llamas exist in this place.
When I head to the “mountains,” I’m usually heading to North Carolina or Tennessee. These states contain the closest mountain ranges to my home, and one of my favorite places to visit is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. All I need to do is drive through here with the windows rolled down and I’m in heaven.
Someday I would love to own a log cabin – okay, log home – as close to the National Park as possible.
There have been quite a few times when I’ve been on my annual (or not-so-annual) trip to the mountains during this time of year and experienced snow. In fact, last year it snowed for 24 straight hours! (Flurries – but it might as well have been a blizzard to this Floridian!) Snow might not scream “fall” to most people, but it’s still a lot of fun! 🙂
Come this time of year, especially when I’m in the mountains, I really get the itch to cook. And when I say cook, I mean yummy, healthy, comfort food. Soups and stews, baked oatmeal, delicious pastas, fresh breads and muffins. Yummm!!! And now I would like to add wood-fired pizza to the list. But made by someone else as I don’t have a wood fire oven. And ideally, that someone else would be someone from FRESH Wood Fired Pizza & Pasta in Black Mountain, North Carolina. I discovered this place during my visit last year and they make amazing pizza. Okay, it might not fall into the “healthy” category, but it’s at the top of the “yummy” and “comfort food” categories! 🙂
But the thing I love the most about being in the mountains during this time of year is the beauty.
I love the peaceful sound of the wind rustling the dying leaves, the smell of logs burning in a fireplace, and even the feel of the occasional snowfall. Sitting outside at night, wrapped up in a blanket, listening to…silence. Everything seems right in the world when I’m surrounded by nature, God’s remarkable creation.
So until I make it up there again, I’ll just continue to reminisce about my past visits, and pray that fall comes to Florida a little earlier this year. 🙂