By Contributing Writer Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, Faculty Member and Diversity + Inclusion Manager at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS); Photograph by Brian Hensien/NOLS
Fall means school, changing leaves, football, holidays, pumpkins, and—for those of us in the Rockies—enjoying that last bit of mosquito-free balminess before winter descends.
Fall is also unpredictable. Even a planned day hike to Popo Agie Falls, not far from our office in Lander, Wyoming, can turn into a chilly, rain-sodden slog if you aren’t prepared. So besides what you normally carry in your daypack (which I blogged about a couple of months ago here), below are some additional items to stash in your fall pack.
1. An Orange Vest and Hat
If you are heading out on a hike in the Rocky Mountain West, there’s a chance you’ll be sharing space with hunters as the game season gets under way. Please don some bright colors so they’ll notice you.
2. Rain Shell
This item should be in any daypack, but is particularly important in the fall. Summer’s short afternoon thunderstorms have given way to perpetual mistiness. Better stay dry.
3. Warm Hat/Gloves/Socks
I felt a chill in my hands and sandaled feet this morning as I biked to work. Fall means the beginning of cold extremities, so keep those doggies, paws and ears warm. (I recommend a fleece-lined woolen hat—it’s not as itchy as bare wool.)
What’s better than hydrating? Hydrating with a hot drink on a chilly day. Don’t let the weather dissuade you. Head out, but heat up some hot yumminess and take it along to treat yourself when you feel that chill in your bones. I prefer hot cocoa, but cider or tea also does the trick.
The aspen leaves are turning from green, to orange, to yellow. Capture those colors for your next Facebook photo album (and to make your friends who are sitting behind their computers jealous about all that deciduous delight you’re traipsing through).
Packing for more than a day hike? Check out what NOLS students take on Fall Semester courses.