Autumn winning seasonal tug-of-war

Winter can wait.

autumn leaves

Fall foliage in Neffs Canyon. Photos by Jared Hargrave

Callista Pearson rides the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in mid-November.

Callista Pearson rides the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in mid-November.

Autumn is a schizophrenic season where sometimes the weather doesn’t know what it wants to be. Summer and winter play tug-of-war over the months of October and November, and we’re all caught in the middle. For those of us who recreate in the outdoors, the highs and lows of the temperature roller coaster can be maddening. When it gets cold, we pray to see massive amounts of snowfall and itch to go skiing. Then Indian Summer inevitably comes and the mountain bikes and climbing gear come rolling back out of the garage once again. Skiers usually aren’t very happy about this.

As much as I’m a fanatic about skiing, I haven’t given the mountains much thought the past few months, because this fall has been incredible. The fact that we know winter is very close has amplified the need to get out into this warm November and ride or climb like there’s no tomorrow, because for summer activities, pretty soon there will be no tomorrow.

Clear blue skies, temperatures flat-lining around the 60’s and 70’s, fall foliage providing a once-a-year backdrop, and dry trails and cliffs all conspire to keep our attention away from the approaching snow.

When winter does finally arrive, I’ll be among the first in line at Alta or on the skin-track in Big Cottonwood Canyon. But until then, I’m totally content to enjoy what has been the perfect shoulder-season in a long time; the autumn of 2009.

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