Outdoors: Fall offers it all

Published 9:15 am Friday, September 19, 2008

This is the time of year that we can take a step back and enjoy the beauty that nature has created for us. Fall is the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. The days although warm are gradually getting cooler and shorter and the nights are cooling down nicely.

Now I have always said that this is indeed my favorite time of year and we are starting to see evidence of that with the colors on some of the trees starting to change. To me fall has that something special about it that is hard to describe. It’s not only the colors but the air itself is just fresh and the vines of the pumpkin patch or squash seem to give off that smell that is only found in the fall.

When I was growing up my mother would pick the tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and other garden late bloomers and put them in our breezeway. Whenever I think about it I can almost smell the unforgettable aroma of the vegetables sitting in the breezeway on a typical fall day. My mother and my aunt Ruby would spend hours canning vegetables in the fall.

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We had a lot of canned goods back them and none of them were in a “tin” can. We had Mason jars full of everything from green & wax butter beans, beet pickles, sweet pickles, dill pickles, tomato juice, Stewed tomatoes, and my favorite, ice box pickles. I wonder how many of us actually does any canning these days? I guess it’s easier to look for the items at the store when you need them.

Fall is starting to show its beauty in some parts of the state. In the north places like Itasca State Park, Grand Portage State Park and Bearhead State Park are at 25 to 50 percent of Peak.

Beaver Creek Valley in the southeastern tip of Minnesota is also at 25 to 50 percent. Here are some of the best places to view fall colors at this park: The best view of the colors in the park are from the overlook on the Switchback Trail, down the Beaver Creek Trail and the overlook on Hole-In-The-Rock Trail.

Many trees are now turning colors and dropping their leaves. Asters and other fall prairie flowers are still in bloom. The park is quiet and not crowded. Reservations will not be needed for tent or electric sites but are needed for the camper cabin. If you want to get away from the crowds and see some beautiful fall vistas check out Beaver Creek Valley!

Getting there: 15954 County 1, Caledonia, MN 55921

From I-90, take state Highway 76 south for 24 miles, then take Houston County 1 west for four miles.

Many outdoors lovers like to plan a weekend around a visit to Gooseberry Falls near Duluth. Hiking along the Gooseberry River trail will give you the best color for the reds of the moose maple and yellows of the birch. Some color is now starting to show on the maples and birch. Grasses are turning gold and brown. Wildflowers out this week are daisy, pearly everlasting, aster, brown-eyed Susan, sunflower, goldenrod, fireweed, bird’s-foot trefoil.

Berries out this week: raspberry, baneberry, dogwood, bunchberry, rose hips, high-bush cranberry, pin cherry, Choke cherry, mountain ash.

Birds are starting to migrate down the shore. Several eagle and hawk sightings are being reported within the park.

Estimated peak color for the maples should be around September 26 and for the birch and aspen Oct. 1.

Getting there: 3206 Highway 61 East, Two Harbors, MN 55616.

From the town of Two Harbors, follow state Highway 61 northeast approximately 13 miles to the park.

These are just some of the many places that are enjoying early fall colors. The sad part of the fall season is that it can peak and be done within a matter of a few days.

One of the more memorable fall fishing trips to Spider Lake was with my old neighbor Gene. We stayed in my pickup camper and enjoyed weather from low the 40s and corn snow to the low 80s and a lake like glass which isn’t always the best for fishing.

Fall can be fickle and it seems ironic that whenever you are on a lake in the fall and the wind is blowing and it’s raining and half snowing you wish for those warm sunny days and then before you know it you have 80s and calm.

We started our week of fishing on the last few days of September and the week ended the first part of October. Like I said within that time span it rained snowed, and sweated. If you were planning a fall vacation and wanted variety, it couldn’t have been planned any better. The leaves peaked in the middle of the week and by the time we went home the trees were almost bare. All that in one week. Oh, by the way, the fishing wasn’t half-bad either!

Until next time, play safe, good fishin’ and enjoy the outdoors.

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