The last few mornings have been chilly – the kind of chilly that drapes over you like a blanket when you’re out on your morning walk. It takes a little bit longer for dawn’s sun to burn away the darkness of the night, and there is a noticeable crunch to the ground when you’re out on your morning walk.
It’s that time of year when your days off work might consist of both early morning scouting, and late afternoon fishing. Those days when you dress in layers because a t-shirt is too little in the cool morning air, but hoodies will leave you sweltering in the mid-day heat.
In past years, summer wraps up with one last trip to the coast, searching for the last few coho to tuck in the freezer for winter meals. 2020’s fishing season is drastically different from previous ones – I haven’t felt the salty ocean breeze since the very beginning of July. Nonetheless, salmon aplenty have been caringly packaged up to get us through to next year. Maybe it’s this weird time warp we are living in, with such a huge gap between the typical trips that mark the summer passing and fall arriving, but it seems to be taking forever for scouting trips to merge into actual hunts.
But here we are, picking up our tags from the post office: black bear, elk, moose, mule deer, whitetail deer… is that overly optimistic? Certainly. There’s no harm in that. After the year of shake ups and turmoil we’ve already weathered, it feels damn good to be rolling into autumn with a bit of overt optimism. We’ll hike our way through the days, weeks and months, embracing the refreshing burst of fresh air and endorphins that we will channel long into the colder months of the year.
So, take the next few weeks to really soak it all in. Wake up and be thankful for the choices that this changing of seasons brings. As outdoorsmen and women, we get a front row seat to those little moments; the sea of soft green leaves yielding to brilliant yellows and oranges, the scent of frost-ripened highbush cranberries permeating through the air, the unmistakable silence-shattering bugle from a mature bull elk. Blessed are the few who experience first-hand Mother Nature’s never-ending show, and while the curtain be falling on summer, autumn is in the wings, just waiting to revolve into yet another season.