Before the last leaf falls

We have been hiking and walking fools lately, on account of the leaves and beautiful weather are going, going…  I won’t say it, but it was 80 degrees (27 C) here today, and incredibly windy…and it’s raining and still windy now…and it’s only supposed to be in the upper 40s (8 C) tomorrow. *Sigh* The weather doesn’t improve in the foreseeable future, assuming the weather folks aren’t lying, so I feel justified for all miles we’ve logged on short excursions.

Mostly we’ve just been going to our neighborhood parks for a couple miles a day, but last weekend after car shopping (we get to pick up our new vehicle tomorrow afternoon – no more fears that the little Volkswagen won’t make it through the snow and sand), we drove up to the Leelanau State Park. Back in July, Tony and I attempted to enjoy the ~6 miles of trails there, but ended up running from mosquitoes in the late afternoon. We vowed to return in the fall in the post-mosquito season. Since we just walked the nearby Pyramid Point loop, Leelanau hikes were fresh in our brains and we happened to remember those paths at the tip of the peninsula.

We took our time driving north from Traverse City, stopping to enjoy the unusually calm bay, and pulling over to see if that bird way up there was an eagle. We turned around a couple of times to go see that pond back there, and oh, while we’re here, let me get a shot of that barn.

We arrived at the trails off of Densmore Road – there are a few trails at the State Park near the lighthouse – in the late afternoon. Still in no hurry, we decided to traipse through the leaves, following the trails around the edge instead of short-cutting via paths that cut through the park’s interior.  We checked out a swampy lake, which I must say is far more attractive in the fall when it’s no longer breeding hoards of vampiric insects, and breathed in the golden light that bathed the whole forest.

As we neared the western edge of the park, we opted for the Pothole Ridge route on account of it had a cool name. The trail, disguised by piles of fallen leaves, wound in through the woods, and then up on a ridge. I didn’t see any potholes, but I was completely enamored of the moss cushioning our steps. The vibrant green carpet coupled with the ocher fallen leaves, and edged by white paper birches topped in bright yellow easily stands out as my favorite section of the whole trip.

Another mile or so along, and we arrived at the Lake Michigan overlook. On most other days, we’d be drawn directly to the water, but we were so engrossed in the fleeting fall atmosphere of the woods that we quickly darted back under the remaining canopy. As evening progressed, we completed the journey back to the car, satisfied with the refreshing flush the cool air had induced on our cheeks.

As the rain pours down outside, the temperature plummets, and the wind blows away the few lingering leaves, I’m glad we’ve taken advantage of the glorious days we’ve had. I expect we’ll still find excuses to get out in the darkening days ahead, but I’ll be thinking wistfully either of autumn crimsons and golds or pillows of snow. Who’s looking forward to winter with me?


17 thoughts on “Before the last leaf falls

    • Thank you Wendy. I didn’t used to be so crazy about winter. Then we moved to northern Michigan and I learned how to downhill ski, and now I look forward to piles and piles of snow! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  1. I’ve spent the last sixteen years in Florida, now I’m in the Plains – Oklahoma! No, I’m not looking forward to winter, but I am looking forward to introducing my kiddo to it for the first time. Your pictures are beautiful (this is also my first “fall” in just as many years!).

    • It’s not too sunny here, but I really do love moody skies like those we have right now. Perhaps I can find an old orange oak for some contrast shots. Happy bundling up! (I really love some good scarves and sweaters 🙂

  2. You have captured the glories of fall so beautifully – but you always do. I am kind of, sort of looking forward to winter. What I am really looking forward to is an excuse to hole up inside without feeling guilty about not pulling weeds or raking or doing constructive outside things. In the winter, I have only to feel guilty about my lack of interest in housework or cooking of constructive inside things.

    • I hate that guilty feeling. It’s never really strong enough to convince me to do those things I’m avoiding, but it can sure sneak in there and ruin the mood. Being cozy when it’s snowing outside is one of the best ways to enjoy the winter 🙂

    • Thank you Composer. I’ve always enjoyed the colors of fall, but I think I’m really starting to enjoy all the things we can do in it. It’s become a favorite time of year…right up there with spring, summer and winter 😉

  3. Beautiful day here yesterday…today cold and rainy. Glad I got a walk in at work yesterday to enjoy what might be the last day of fall. I know that barn…..have a friend (or two) in Northport and have driven by it many times. Great photos, really enjoyed them!

    • Ick – cold a raining…the worst! We started off dreary, but then the skies cleared for most of the afternoon. I imagine there are a fair number of photos of that Omena barn. It’s in a good place for picture-taking 🙂 Thanks for stopping by after your busy day!

  4. The last lovely bits of autumn portrayed so beautifully here, Heather. Seems like you’re getting lots more commenters recently, or am I imagining things? I hope more are stopping by your colorful thoughtful hiking living loving blog.

    • I think you’re right about the additional commenting going on around here 😉 I must say that I like it! (Maybe not quite as much as I like your description though.)
      We are expecting gray skies and drizzle, perhaps a flake of snow. What are you going to get from Sandy?

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