“August 23. Rose and crimson sunset, and soon after the stars appeared the moon rose in most impressive majesty over the top of Mount Dana. I sauntered up the meadow in the white light. The jet-black tree shadows were so wonderfully distinct and substantial looking, I often stepped high in crossing them, taking them for black charred logs.
August 24. Another charming day, warm and calm soon after sunrise, clouds... faint, silky cirrus wisps, scarcely visible. Slight frost, Indian summerish, the mountains growing softer in outline and dreamy looking, their rough angles melted off, apparently. Sky at evening with fine, dark, subdued purple, almost like the evening purple of the San Joaquin plains in settled weather. The moon is now gazing over the summit of Dana. Glorious exhilarating air.
August 25. Cool as usual in the morning, quickly changing to the ordinary serene generous warmth and brightness. Toward evening the west wind was cool and sent us to the campfire. Of all Nature’s flowery carpeted mountain halls none can be finer than this glacier meadow. Bees and butterflies seem as abundant as ever. The birds are still here, showing no sign of leaving for winter quarters though the frost must bring them to mind. For my part I should like to stay here all winter or all my life or even all eternity.”
-- John Muir (1869 journals), Mountaineering Essays, Richard M. Fleck, Ed. (Gibbs M. Smith, Inc., 1984)
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Many of us appreciate the seasonal diversity we experience in this part of the country, where the natural world changes dramatically throughout the year.
Nothing stays the same for long – which can feel like a mixed blessing, of course. Soon after we’ve adjusted to a season it’s just about time to prepare for a new one.
Some seasons are easy to get attached to. Summer can be that way for those of you who don’t mind the heat, and/or for whom summer means vacation and downtime.
Whatever our feelings on the subject, there’s no denying that summer’s days are numbered. Labor Day is just two weeks away, after which some of us will shift gears.
Autumn doesn’t officially arrive for another month, and warm weather is likely for weeks to come. But for many people it’ll be a time for new projects, classes, etc.
If you’re someone who loves swimming in mountain lakes and basking in warm mountain breezes, it’s time to act now to enjoy some final seasonal opportunities.
And if you’re someone who loves to hike during the often gloriously beautiful fall foliage season, it’s time to consider reserving for September and October hikes.
Some fall hikes often fill well in advance, which can likewise be the case for our final two camping trips of the year (9/2-5 and 10/7-10). Hiking doesn’t get any better than it’s likely to be in the coming months. Will you be enjoying it with us?
-- Charlie Cook