“September 2. One is constantly reminded of the infinite lavishness and fertility of Nature -- inexhaustible abundance amid what seems enormous waste. And yet when we look into any of her operations that lie within reach of our minds, we learn that no particle of her material is wasted or worn out. It is eternally flowing from use to use…
More and more, in a place like this, we feel ourselves part of wild Nature, kin to everything. Spent most of the day high up on the north rim of the valley, commanding views of the clouds in all their red glory spreading their wonderful light over all the basin, while the rocks and trees and small Alpine plants at my feet seemed hushed and thoughtful, as if they also were conscious spectators of the glorious new cloud-world.
Here and there, as I plodded farther and higher, I came to small garden-patches and ferneries just where one would naturally decide that no plant-creature could possibly live. But, as in the region about the head of Mono Pass and the top of Dana, it was in the wildest, highest places that the most beautiful and tender and enthusiastic plant-people were found. Again and again, as I lingered over these charming plants, I said, How came you here? How do you live through the winter? Our roots, they explained, reach far down the joints of the summer-warmed rocks, and beneath our fine snow mantle killing frosts cannot reach us, while we sleep away the dark half of the year dreaming of spring.”
-- John Muir (1869 journals), Mountaineering Essays, Richard M. Fleck, Ed. (Gibbs M. Smith, Inc., 1984)
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Yes, it’s time for a seasonal reminder that when our trips resume, everyone should start bringing more clothing on hikes, since cool weather is increasingly likely.
Those of you who have already reserved for some fall hikes received such a reminder with your trip confirmation.
It’s a near certainty that we’ll have some fall hikes when temperatures end up being lower than expected, and one or more people in the group may have little else to put on.
After months of mild weather it can be hard to remember what it’s like to feel chilled. Or to remember that mountain temps are often cooler than at home.
For the majority of hikes you probably won’t need those additional layers. But when you do, the extra sweater, fleece, gloves, and hat could feel like life-savers.
Also, as I try to regularly remind everyone, weather forecasts should NEVER be completely trusted. In the mountains the forecast can be wrong as often as it’s right. And we can never predict just how warm or cold it’ll be on a particular hike.
Which is why, from now till next summer, it’s wise to pack extra layers regardless of what the predictions are… so you’ll be prepared for all conceivable conditions!
-- Charlie Cook