Rock You Like a Hurricane

Staying warm, safe, and dry

Hurricane Ian devastated parts of Florida a few days ago. The predictions showed it tracking up through the lower Appalachians this weekend. My husband and several friends who have lived in Florida were concerned about my well-being and wanted to be sure I had a place to hole up if it got bad enough. I know that when the weather gets challenging on trail, the hostels start filling up quickly. I kept an eye on my weather app all week and, although it isn’t hurricane weather, when I saw the predictions for a wet and cold weekend, I reserved a bunk. When I get cold and wet, I have a hard time getting warm and dry. Also, I don’t like risking hypothermia.

I also reserved a shuttle and got here yesterday afternoon. It was cool all day, but still dry and stayed dry while I walked to dinner and then the little grocery store. Three nights in a hostel can get really, really expensive if you eat out for every meal! The little country store didn’t have a ton of options, but enough to get me through the weekend. This morning it is cool and drizzly, and I almost feel like I could have hiked in this. But then I remind myself that I can’t control the weather. I can only plan for what the forecast says. And the forecast was miserable.

Autumn on the trail

Autumn is my favorite season and October is my favorite month. It has nothing to do with my birthday in two weeks. Nothing at all. Bonus of the hostel was they had Disney+ as one of their streaming services! Last night, I watched the new Hocus Pocus 2 with a group of thru-hikers I have been meeting up with all week. The original is one of my favorite autumn traditions. I also love the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, walking through the fallen leaves and hearing them crunch under my feet, and the smell of the autumn forest. You just can’t get that scent elsewhere, even in the most expensive, fancy candles. I smelled that for the first time on Monday. It was heaven.

I always take a lot of pictures, as you know. This time of year, my pictures focus on the trees and the gorgeous leaves. Here’s a smattering of my autumnal photos from this week.

I know it’s a bit blurry compared to the other leaf pictures, but I love the bright yellow with a tint of orange/red!

This tree looks dead near the base with it’s hollow trunk, but the branches at the top have leaves on them. Amazing and beautiful!

Open ridges and peaks

Like most people, I love the views along the trail, as well. They are pretty spectacular all year, but especially so in autumn. The colors are starting to pop in the trees and you can almost feel the changes in the seasons.

Sometimes when I’m hiking along, I feel like Forest Gump in that scene where he’s running and looking at the amazing vistas all around him. These views can make you feel insignificant and privileged to be able to experience this world in this way at the same time. For me, it is also calming, grounding, and humbling to take stock of my place in the world.

What do you like best about hiking in autumn?

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Comments 5

  • Aunt Terri : Oct 2nd

    Glad you got off the trail just in case. It was a wise move wet and cold not a good thing. Looks beautiful and very different from the north. Love you and your pics.

  • Aunt Terri : Oct 2nd

    Oh yeah Happy Birthday coming! I know you love everything about fall. cooler hiking weather and beautiful colors your favorite.

    • Kristine Hartlaub : Oct 2nd

      Thanks! Love you, too!

  • GoGo : Oct 29th

    I’m with you, I love the smell & the beautiful leaves as they change! Thanks for the terrific photos Kristine.


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