Walktober Offers Something For Everyone This Fall
To be a true New Englander is to enjoy and live gladly within the essence of the four seasons. To me, no month defines New England and our seasons like October.
Autumn may astronomically begin in September, but October entrances the senses. The sudden chill of a misty cool morning, the breathtaking views of hillsides ablaze with brilliant fall foliage, the smell of woodsmoke curling up from chimneys and the taste of a fresh apple cider signal fall has arrived.
The cacophony of honking Canada geese always turns my gaze skyward to watch their V-shaped aerial pattern slicing southward. The sound startles when heard for the first time each fall, summoning our sad adieu to summer. The call of the migrating geese belies an order to things — no matter how busy our lives, despite the myriad of challenges we face locally, nationally and globally, life goes on. The cycle continues, and the geese will return again and again.
Canada geese are certainly our noisiest and most visible of the autumn migrating birds, but many other species are also on the move — usually at night. Many of our songbirds migrate in darkness and on moonlit nights you can see them. If it is quiet enough, you can hear their chirps as they pass over head.
At this writing our house and yard have yet to experience the first frost of the season. Soon enough we’ll wake to find a rime of white crystal coating the lawn, garden plants and car windshields. October is the month when woolen hats and gloves are pulled from drawers where they were stored back in April.
Our road is lined by several shagbark hickory trees. The nuts seem to be less abundant than last year, but still the squirrels work the trees over, dropping green bits of chewed husk that hide the nutritious tasting hickory nut inside to the road below.
Who am I to begrudge a bit of hickory husk debris on my morning walk? To get through the cold months ahead, the squirrels rely on the nuts stored in their nests or carefully hidden in the ground nearby their nest tree, just as we put down garden produce in bins of squash and potatoes, bags of frozen berries, and canned tomatoes and beans ready for winter consumption.
Here in The Last Green Valley, there are ample opportunities to get outdoors to enjoy what our region has to offer. My column two weeks back heralded Walktober and the more than 200 unique walks and experiences occurring during the month of October. With repeat walks you can take advantage of almost 300 opportunities to explore.
Thousands of Walktober brochures have been dispersed to libraries, town halls and locations throughout the 35-town National Heritage Corridor. If you don’t have your Walktober brochure your best bet is to check out The Last Green Valley website and download your own printable version of the brochure.
From today forward there are still more than 25 days of Walktober. Plenty of time to get out and experience fall here in The Last Green Valley. You can get the Walktober brochure at: https://thelastgreenvalley.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Walktober2018web.pdf
If you enjoy visiting historical sites, learning about local history and the people who lived in our region in the past, then there is something for you in Walktober. If you enjoy the beauty of fall foliage and a walk in the woods, then there is something for you in Walktober. If you enjoy paddling a quiet river and letting the current carry you downstream, then there is something for you in Walktober. If you enjoy visiting orchards, vineyards and farms then there is something for you in Walktober.
We live in a beautiful region called The Last Green Valley and October is the best month to get out and experience it. I hope you’ll join me and others as we care for, enjoy and pass on this special place we call home.
Bill Reid is chief ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for more than 35 years. He can be reached at email@example.com
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