Fall Fireworks

 Stillwater Diary, September 30, 2017I took some time off this week to travel to Grand Teton National Park with a friend. Our timing was perfect; late fall weather means bright blue skies and aspens turning to burnished gold.
We were lucky enough to find a hiking path that wasn’t too populated. The parks are very crowded, even this late in the season, so it was a gift to have some time to ourselves. There was no sound but the wind in the trees and our boots on the rocky path, and of course our endless happy conversation. There’s nothing better than hiking with an old friend, catching up on each others’ lives.
The forests we saw this week were so vigorous and healthy that it made me realize our woods at Stillwater has quite a way to go before it’s the habitat it should be for our local critters. The beetles that ravaged our forest seem to be gone, and our trees are doing well, but the dead trees were chipped in place, smothering the underbrush.
New growth is coming up, but it’s sparse, without the variety we saw in the National Park forests. I can only imagine how happy our mule deer would be with all the tender plants we saw, or how safe our mountain lions would feel with more cover on the ground. 
If you have some free time and a little bit of wanderlust, it’s a great time to travel, especially if you’re lucky enough to live in an area with colorful fall foliage. The world is getting ready for winter; it’s like it’s celebrating with fireworks!