I think September might be my favorite time to go hiking. It's typically not too hot, there is often a mist in the air, the trails are not as crowded, and you get a beautiful color combination of green mosses and ferns with the orangey-yellow leaves on the ground.
This last week my friend Sadie and I met up for a fall hike. We piled a few of our pups in the car and explored two areas not far from our homes. Our first stop was at Lucia Falls. This is really a short loop, but there are fantastic views of the falls. We also, thanks to the dogs, stumbled upon the beautiful hillside covered in ferns. What a gorgeous spot to discover! There are many, many oak trees along this section of the river, and on our way back to the cars, we found some oak galls (some people call them oak apples) on the ground. Oak galls are a funny, and often large, growth on the twigs of the oak tree caused by the California Gallfly. The gall was home to cynipid wasp larvae earlier in the season. But as you can see, they have left their home already. This particular type of gall does not cause any significant damage to the tree.
Sadie and I decided that since the rain was pretty much holding off, we wanted to walk on further. So, we drove a few miles further up river to Moulton Falls. Here there are many more trails to walk as well as offshoots to other trails. In the summer, this is a popular swimming spot. I was surprised at how many other hikers we saw in the middle of the week...on a soggy day. We had a wonderful time walking the trails, smelling the wood smoke in the air from a nearby home, and just soaking up some of the beautiful fall day. I was so thankful for the time to get out in the woods with a friend. It's always the best of both worlds...exercise outside and good conversation!
I hope you get a chance to explore some of the areas near you this fall!