October is here already, crazy. Time has been flying lately, especially with the shutdown. Although, I would be lying if I said it wasn’t kind of nice. Fall is my favorite time of year and the couple weeks off allowed me to go exploring. Here in Escalante, we are privileged enough to have both desert/canyon country as well as mountain/high elevation. Mountains and forests are one of my favorite ecosystems so naturally that is where I went during the shutdown. With too many lakes to know them all and so many back roads it’s easy to get lost, it makes exploring a lot of fun. At around 9/10,000 feet the Aspen are burning brilliantly yellow, orange and occasionally red. Overlooking the canyon lands from this high up makes them look like a strange city of rock and shadow. I ventured to take my mountain bike out as well. This turned out to be a great idea, most of the time. The trails here are made for hiking but many work for both. Elk hunting season is upon us as well, meaning the males are bugling and sometimes fighting. I was lucky enough to see one large elk with 5 females on one of my rides. Many of the animals such as deer, elk, and turkey make their way down from the mountain during the fall to over-winter in the warmer canyon areas. This has made wildlife watching exceptionally nice in and near town.
The fall has also brought a lot of change to the plants we are collecting. In the two weeks we were off, many of our species “ripened”. This allowed us to make 3 collections in the first few days back which was great. The downside is that the days are becoming much shorter. The sun isn’t rising until 7:30am at the earliest and sets at 6:30pm. I don’t mind though, because this means winter is coming, which in turn means skiing! With a couple resorts, Brian’s Head and Eagle Point, not very far away I am hoping to get a couple days on the snow before it is time to leave. With our last day only 3 weeks away, things are coming to a close quickly. We still have a few plants to collect from and we have even seen some plants, not ones we are collecting, still flowering. I find this amazing considering we have already had our first frost and the mountains have even had some snow. Having never lived in the southwest before, it is wild how even though it may frost at night, it still reaches mid 60’s during the day here. I find this to be very enjoyable weather but not surprisingly the tourist season has come to an end finally. In our town this means that most of the restaurants and stores will be closing soon. I wonder what everyone does all winter.