Starting in late August, when the night air begins to bite, signs of creeping yellow and red first appear in the leaves in southwestern Vermont. That’s when we know: fall is coming. It’s hard to choose a favorite season—for all offer their own delights—but autumn is special in that it offers something for everyone who loves to be outside.
Hikers enjoy cooler weather for long treks through the mountains, and when they reach a summit or a open vista, they are met with a riot of color that reaches to the horizon. Oftentimes, Orvis associates will spend a lunch hour hiking to “the cobble,” a rocky outcropping on the mountain behind the office, where they enjoy a picnic and a spectacular view of the peaks across the valley.
For fly fishermen, cooler water temperatures mean more active trout, fish that often feed aggressively to prepare for the long winter. This is the time to put away the tiny dry flies and tie on a meaty streamer. Swinging a big fly through a run on a chilly, foggy morning is a great way to end a season on the water. . .even if you don’t catch anything.
Of course, upland hunters have been waiting nine long months to return to woods with their dogs, in search of woodcock and ruffed grouse. Walking through the glorious colors while on alert for a flushing bird is both awe-inspiring and thrilling, although you have to be careful not to get caught leaf-peeping when a grouse goes up. The dogs get mad at you if you’re not paying attention.
It’s over all too soon, but for those spectacular eight weeks or so, every moment spent indoors feels like a lost opportunity.