We’re quickly slipping from late summer into fall in the upper Midwest, and sometimes it seems like it’s changing overnight. We knew it was coming, but we’re never quite ready for the drop from temperatures in the 80’s to the 50’s all in the same week. Last week I was exploring some new Wisconsin hiking trails with a dear friend. We encountered forests of green, trails covered with colored leaves already fallen, rain, more rain, and some spots of lovely fall colors. This scene along the Brule River was one of the areas that was further along with the change in colors. The next few weeks will probably bring our peak fall colors — a wonderful time to be out in nature!
Fall colors are peaking in some areas of Minnesota and today promised unusually warm temperatures with blue skies — a perfect combination for an early morning canoe trip on the St. Croix River. As we put the canoe into the water south of Taylors Falls, dawn was just breaking, the morning was crisp and quiet, and the water was calm. We paddled south and had the river to ourselves. Slowly the sun crested the bluffs on the Wisconsin side of the river, and the light was golden on the Minnesota hillsides. Our trip was filled with wonder at the basalt cliffs that fall straight into the river, and at the beauty of this gorge. A short stop for coffee and some pear bread on a sand bar was accompanied by an eagle flying overhead. The morning was magical in its stillness and color, and this National Scenic Riverway renewed our appreciation for the beauty of fall and the area we live in.
With the promise of autumn sunshine, I headed out before dawn in search of some fall color. Gradually the changing colors have found their way down to the Twin Cities, and the landscape has become beautiful and filled with the rich colors of autumn. This morning was cold enough to provide frost in many areas giving an almost-white coating over the grass. The smell in the air is different as the seasons change and it was delightful to greet the day outside on this crisp and clear morning.