I love hiking in the fall. It’s a season of enhanced sensory pleasures. The crisp air seems scrubbed clean and its gentle nip makes you appreciate a cozy scarf and gloves. In the coastal forest, the beauty of the evergreens is enhanced by the contrasting deciduous flares of yellow, orange, and red.
Knowing that the next change of season will transform my favourite trails yet again encourages me to be more acutely aware of details that soon will disappear under the snow: the beacon of bright red berries in the understorey; the delicate clusters of tiny forest mushrooms; the small footprints of squirrels or the scat of foraging bears.
The ghost of winter-to-come was a notable presence on my recent hike in E.C. Manning Provincial Park. The first snowfall had touched the subalpine, and the white dusting on the fall foliage along the 1.5-kilometre Paintbrush Nature Trail was particularly lovely, as you can see from my snapshots.