Each moment of the year has its own beauty,
a picture which was never before and shall never be seen again.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Crisp Autumn Day
A few days ago, my partner and I enjoyed a fabulous mid-week hike in the mountains. It was one of those walks that stays with you for a long time. I’m still thinking about it today.
The morning dawned still and crisp and clear—it couldn’t have been a lovelier day for an autumn walk. We set out for Wedge Pond, in Kananaskis Country, about an hour’s drive west from home here in Calgary. The drive there is gorgeous, a treat in itself: the land covered in honeyed morning light, mist rising from the ponds, golden fields dotted with hay bales, and, in the distance, beyond the rolling foothills, the beautiful Rocky Mountains rising to meet a clear blue sky.
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”
~ Jim Bishop
The Autumn Colour Palette
Autumns are short here in Calgary and in the nearby Rocky Mountains. If you want to enjoy it, you have to get out there and savour every day you can—lest a particularly hard frost, unexpected snow dump or a big wind takes it all away overnight. It’s happened before: autumn can quickly disappear here by mid-September. But this year, we’ve been extra fortunate. We’ve had a bonus month of autumn—October has been a gloriously beautiful month, with most days being warm and sunny, and graced with incredible azure blue skies. The weather has been so lovely that my potted geraniums are still blooming! It’s highly unusual to have them last this late into the season. We took full advantage of the spectacular weather this whole season and got out for long walks with our cameras in the mountains and in our city parks as often as we could. Here are some of the sights we enjoyed on our autumn walks this year.
“The sun, with all those planets revolving around it
and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes
as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.”
The Perfect Autumn Getaway
Let me take you to the heart of western Canada’s wine country in Penticton, a town cozily nestled in the sunny Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. The drive from Calgary to Penticton is a scenic 8 hour drive, winding over two stunning mountain passes and passing through three contiguous National Parks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains (see my previous post). Once we are over the mountains, the road glides down into the valley and hugs the shores of scenic Lake Okanagan for 132 km (84 miles), making for lovely vistas all the way south to Penticton. For my partner and I, the road trip itself is one of the best parts of our getaways to the Okanagan Valley and we milk it to its fullest.
The Okanagan is a pretty valley stitched together with picturesque patchworks of fruit orchards, vegetable farms, vineyards and small wineries. A few days spent basking there is what we call a perfect getaway. It is pure balm for the soul.
The Danbo Brothers are independent and active little fellows and I quite enjoy having them around. They come and go of their own accord and I often don’t see or hear from them for days. Since the leaves started to turn, I haven’t seen much of them at all. I caught sight of them the other morning on their way out and, while I normally don’t like to pry, I couldn’t contain my curiosity about what they’ve been up to, so I asked them. They happily informed me that they’ve been spending their days ambling through the woods, watching the trees turn and crunching through piles of autumn leaves. It seems to delight them no end. I know what they mean—I love it too. For me, walking through autumn leaves in fall has the same magnetic appeal as puddle jumping in spring.
In autumn, a wonderful alchemy magically turns the green fields of the Canadian prairies to gold. One of my favourite sights as I drive across the land in autumn are the golden fields in various stages of harvest, stretched out as far as the eye can see in every direction, all the way to the horizon. Continue reading →
“October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came —
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.”