The leaves are turning, and this may be the time of year where folks start to hang up their backpacks for the summer and twiddle their thumbs before winter sport season begins. Shoulder season can be an awkward time for many of our favorite outdoor activities, so in honor of the Autumn Equinox and to help get you some inspiration, we polled the Diorite staff on how they like to spend time outdoors during the fall.
Every year for the Autumn equinox, our family heads out on a multi-day backpacking trip. Last year, we completed the Timberline trail; this year we are doing the 50-mile loop around the Three Sisters. It's my favorite fall activity because we are enjoying the last of the (hopefully good) weather, spending time together and completing something that the kids would never have thought possible.
Autumn is the season I dial back my adventures from lofty alpine summer objectives, back down to the less ambitious outings in the forests. Shorter days, cooler temperatures, and the persistent PNW rain forces me to shift gears from backpacking, rock climbing, and mountaineering to instead cycling, trail running, car camping, and mushroom foraging (roasting fresh chanterelles over a camp fire anyone?). It's a time for me to slow down and transition into more social outdoor adventures with friends who refused do the spicy summer suffer-fests with me.
In the fall I try to sneak in one last backpacking trip for leaf peeping, usually at a lower elevation so it’s not too cold! If I’m lucky, I’ll escape to the desert for backpacking since fall is prime season there. It’s also a great time for more day hikes, as I don’t mind being out in the cold or rain if I can go back to a warm house afterwards. Waterfall hikes are great for fall in the PNW; even if it’s raining I don’t miss out on the views!
For me, fall is the best season for trail running. Cooler temperatures make for more comfortable runs, without being so cold you need to worry about trail conditions from ice or snow. It's also the time of year of my favorite season - mushroom season! While I rarely forage, I like to mushroom peep the same way some folks leaf peep. Portland also loves their fungi, and I like participating in the Tryon Creek MycoBlitz every year.