One of the very first signs that summer is drawing to a close is a subtle browning around the edges of the ferns. The brambles slow and halt their growth. Greens everywhere, yellow and then brown. The famous foliage signifying a sort of death and decay grows ubiquitous and tourists, some from as far away as western Europe gather to witness the morbid beauty.
Is this strange? Not at all. Japanese traditions even have a name for the aesthetic, Wabi Sabi, the stark beauty of aging, imperfect things. It’s a celebration of the inherent wisdom and harmony of perfectly imperfect nature, among the most beautiful things conceivable.
In past years the passage of peak foliage in early October which obscured trails with a thick blanket of treacherous leaf cover effectively ended the mountain bike season for all but the most rabid or adventurous rider. One of the unintended benefits of a growing popularity is that though we do not have a large enough stewardship community to keep the trails clear of leaves, we DO have a large enough ridership that the abundance of rolling tires tend to mulch a distinct line through the more popular trails. This in turn attracts more riders only compounding the effect!
Later in the season, astute observers of nature will notice the turkey that tend to be more solitary in the summer start to flock together in their peer groups for the winter. On rare occasions, one might spot a moose. There is plenty of evidence of them in the form of tracks and ball shaped scat in the vicinity of La Gran Aventura, but they’re very elusive. They are significantly more dangerous and unpredictable than, say, a black bear, but there’s still no reason to panic. Moose attacks in Vermont are almost unheard of.
The first tentative snows usually coat the trails (and often melts off by midday) around mid to late October.
With most of the keystone predators having long been extirpated from the region (with the exception of the famously resilient eastern coyote. The breed found in the Green Mountains, having interbred with wolves some time back, is especially hardy.) the hunting season serves as an imperfect, but probably necessary, substitute for maintaining a semblance of ecological balance. An out of control deer population, for instance, could spell disaster not just for the deer but for many other creatures that cohabitate with them.
Hunting is allowed, and practiced, in the same forest as the GMT. Be aware of the seasons and take the appropriate precautions. Ideally, avoid peak hunting hours early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
Halloween Party: October
Lots of wholesome raking, especially declogging drains and clearing the lesser ridden trails.