Ways to Stay Connected to Nature During the Fall, by Caroline "Karaoke" Hinchliff

Ways to Stay Connected to Nature During the Fall, by Caroline "Karaoke" Hinchliff

Autumn is here—the temperatures are steadily dropping, the days are growing shorter, and the trees are ablaze in golden hues. After a summer of exploring in the forest and sleeping under the stars, this time of year beckons us indoors with warm and cozy creature comforts warm beverages, blazing fireplaces, and cozy blankets. Pumpkin spice lattes are great, of course, but you may be feeling a bit blue about the change of seasons. If you're already missing the way you feel when you’re out there in the wild, here are a few ways to stay connected to the things you love about the natural world this season.


Fall days mean cooler temps and wet weather making your tent that much more important while in the field, photo by caroline Hinchlif

1. Search for mushrooms

Even on a dreary day, a walk through the forest looking for delectable mushrooms offers a fun and rewarding outdoor adventure. Chanterelles and matsutakes are currently in season. Pick up a fungi identification guide and head to a nearby grove of Douglas fir trees for an autumnal treasure hunt. Fun for adults and kids alike, this type of visually-focused activity provides both recreation and stress relief (and tasty rewards when you find the edibles)
A good haul of Chantrelle Mushrooms from the local forest, photo by Grahm Hodge
2.  Watch the Sunrise
One big benefit of the shorter days? The sun comes up later, which means it’s easier to get a glimpse of the sunrise as it peeks over the eastern horizon without having to wake up super early. Check local weather forecasts to find out the exact time of the sunrise, then set an alarm for 15 minutes beforehand to catch the first rays of light.
Sunrise over the eastern Oregon Desert, photo by Whitney La Ruffa


3.  Hike to waterfalls

Walks along rivers and streams are delightful any time of year, but feel especially rewarding on rainy, cloudy days when hikes to hilltops or viewpoints seem somewhat pointless.

Multnomah Falls in the scenic Columbia River Gorge is a favorite stop for a hike in PNW, photo by Whitney La Ruffa

3.  In with the out(doors)

While you may not feel like camping or spending the night outside in these colder temperatures, you can bring elements of the wilderness into your home by collecting beautiful items from the woods. Colorful leaves, pine cones, and river rocks make excellent seasonal decorations, and studies show that simply gazing at natural objects—even when they’re inside our living spaces—can reduce our stress levels and boost our sense of gratitude. Arrange some on your desk at work or throughout your home to get the benefits of forest bathing while still going about your regular routine.

5.  Plan an autumn-specific hiking trip

Research trails that are known for their beautiful fall foliage or golden larch trees. Fall is fleeting, and sometimes these phenomena only last a week or two, so don’t delay once these trees start to change. Pack extra layers in your backpack just in case, and fill a thermos with hot cider or hot chocolate for an on-trail treat.

Fall is great time to enjoy the changing foliage and enjoy the crisp cool air while in the mountains, phot by Whitney La Ruffa


What are your favorite ways to transition from summer into fall? Do you have any outdoor

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