Cool, crisp air. Shorter days. Fireplace cranking, Hot toddy’s flowing. The crunch of fallen leaves underfoot.
Even the die-hard lovers of spring, summer and winter can admit there’s just that strange, mysterious factor that make everyone feel warm and happy when they transition into the season of color.
I know better than anyone how tempting it is to go into hibernation mode in autumn. An East Coast girl at heart, these colorful months are in my blood, even since I moved to New Zealand and have come to accept fall in April – which let’s be honest, is still kinda weird.
I love snuggling up next to the fire with a good book, content with spending a day baking and writing, and of course, thinking. But I love even more wandering outside beneath yellow leaves, and the smell of fire in the air.
I know it’s tempting to put on your long johns and start the Christmas music in October but don’t be too quick to skip this magical season all together. Fall is my favorite time of the year and is arguably the best season for adventure, even if it arrived very late this year.
Step aside summer and winter, we’ve got a new favorite adventure season in town.
1. The perfect weather
Congratulations, you’ve made it through the sweltering summer.
You’ve endured endless nights of restlessness because it’s frankly too damn hot to be comfortable. You’ve survived the bug bites, the ugly ass sun hats, the hair that sticks to your sweaty forehead making looking presentable almost impossible. You’ve done it!
Welcome to fall where you’ll be greeted with the perfect temperatures. All those hikes you decided to abandon because it was too hot? Now’s the perfect time to do them.
You’ll be comfortable and cool and maybe you’ll even get to wear more than the absolute bare minimum for layers. Throw on that cute beanie you’ve kept in storage.
You’ll be just cool enough to keep the sweating to a minimum so you can get those summit views easier and more comfortably.
My house in Wanaka is decked out in Wilson & Dorset New Zealand sheepskins
Two Paddocks, my favorite local winery, looks stunning in the fall
2. All the pretty colors, obviously
Anyone who pretends to be unfazed by the radiant light show that nature puts on every autumn is, quite frankly, full of shit.
It is spectacular when the leaves change, heralding fall, no questions asked.
Golds, reds, oranges, I love them all. As soon as the leaves begin to change, my heart soars and I want to be out and about amongst the colors as much as I can.
Nature is literally changing its whole color scheme from bright green to earthy browns, yellows, reds, purples. Seeing an entire landscape explode into a totally different shade than a month ago?
It’s like seeing a mountain on fire without any of the danger. Yes please, can nature look like this all the time??
3. No more crazy crowds
Good news! Summer vacations are over.
Those crying, screaming kids disrupting your peaceful nature time are back in school.
For some reason, people are spending their weekend watching football which is great because that means you get nature all to yourself. Take advantage of the quiet trails while everyone else is gorging on cheese dip and pumpkin spiced lattes.
Just avoid those heavy Instagram autumn spots, can’t guarantee those won’t be busy.
I kept my portable Lotus Belle Air Beam Bud set up all through the autumn in Wanaka
Onesies by the fire, am I right?
4. You get to wear all of the clothes and be all cozy
Summer wardrobes suck.
Everything is exposed all of the time and after few weeks of sweating through your outfit every day, you begin to miss the beauty of an autumn wardrobe.
Fall wardrobes have so much opportunity, so much diversity.
I live in this Patagonia flannel top come autumn
Danner boots are my favorite adventure boots when I’m on the road
5. Explore the mountains before they’re covered in snow
You may already be frothing for winter and a season on the skis but don’t forget that when the snow comes, a lot of the alpine will generally be off limits.
This is your last chance to get high without the complications of ski gear and avalanche knowledge.
In fall, the peaks may get a small dusting of snow but it’s still accessible and plus, a light dusting paired with a fiery mountain landscape is the stuff photographers drool over. Enjoy those peaks. You might not see them again for another six months.
A light but high quality puffer jacket is essential for hikes in the autumn
6. Vinyard harvest
Living near wine regions around the world, I have because highly aware of autumn because of the harvest. Come vintage time, all hands are on deck and these beautiful bits of land truly come alive as everyone works to bring in the grapes before the frosts of winter descend.
A true art form that I’ll never understand, what I do get it is the wild harvest parties that happen at the end, that I often end up at!
So much fun.
7. It’s totally fine to end a hike with hot cider and a hearty meal
Roasted veggies, hearty stews, mashed potatoes. Fall is the season of comfort food.
No one wants to end their hot summery hike with a big roast dinner and a hot apple cider. No thanks.
In Autumn? Definitely! You can reward yourself after your adventure with a hot, comforting meal fit for kings.
8. Shorter days means you get to see more sunrises and sunsets
Fall is great for lovers of sleep.
It’s darker longer which means that pesky sun won’t wake you up until much, much later. You even get an extra hour of sleep when the clock rolls back. For those of us who love sleep to an unhealthy degree, seeing a sunrise in the summer is brutally painful. Waiting up at 5:30am just to be prepped for morning golden hour? Sounds good in theory but never works quite like I want it to.
In Fall? No problem. Go ahead and give yourself a sleep in. You’ll get your beauty rest, have time to make a coffee and still make golden hour. Nice!
Planning an autumn hike when the days are shorter means that you need to be extra prepared with gear. I always throw in a headlamp if I’m going on a day hike and always carry more layers than I think I’ll need in case the weather really turns. You gotta be prepared for it all.
9. Wildlife viewing can be amazing
Grab your binoculars!
Bird are migrating, salmon are spawning, elk are bugling, the high alpine animals are slowly making their way down the mountain as the temperatures drop. Bears are scrounging up the last of the berries before heading off for hibernation and squirrels are busy gathering and stashing nuts for the winter.
For those who want to get a glimpse of these elusive animals, autumn is your chance! But be careful, wildlife can be especially aggressive this time of year so keep your distance and resist all temptation to get a selfie with wild animals.
10. Get cabin cozy
And last but not least, my favorite thing to do in autumn is spend time out away from the cities cozied away in a cute cabin.
From the smells of the first wood fires to the crunchy leaves under your feet as you walk through the woods, there is something so nostalgic and lovely about getting away for a few days to a cabin somewhere. Airbnb is usually my go-to for looking for little cabins to get away to. Do you have any faves to share?
Spill – do love fall as much as me? What’s your favorite autumn adventure?