Fall is the best time to become outdoorsy

Josette Corazza

For as long as I can remember, my family has begged me to accompany them on various hikes, canoe excursions and overnight camping trips. One of the reasons why we moved from the city to Lexington was the abundance of easily accessible nature-related activities. My father has hiked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail, and the storage spaces in our home are filled more with hiking packs and outdoor gear than holiday decorations or memorabilia. It has been interesting for me to grow up with a family that enjoys the outdoors so much. I never really understood their interest in straying into the unpredictable and daunting natural world until recently.

Although I am not a fan of cold weather, I have to admit that fall is a pretty great season. The gorgeous mountains of the Shenandoah Valley completely transform into vibrant hues of orange, red and yellow, reminding me that summer’s departure is not all bad. The crunching noise of leaves underfoot never fails to incite a childlike excitement within me. Breaking out my boots and scarves is always a nice change from warm-weather apparel. Not to mention, the ability to walk from Graham- Lees to the Center for Global Learning without arriving to class as a human puddle of sweat is incontestably advantageous.

Around the time temperatures began to dip below 65 degrees last fall, I started to stray from my comfort zone and explore the famous hiking destinations around Lexington. It is very hard to stay pessimistic about the outdoors while scaling the impressive rock formations of Devil’s Marble Yard or admiring the 360-degree view from Spy Rock. There are so many different natural wonders in close proximity to campus that deserve exploration from every student here. If you are like me and have never felt extremely inclined to start navigating through the wilderness, I urge you to reconsider becoming an outdoorsy person during the most aptly suited season.

Exploring the outdoors can be a fun experience to have alongside friends. A significant bonus of hiking in the fall is that you don’t have to worry s about getting inconveniently sweaty., it is nice to head out in cooler weather and avoid the nuisance of excessive heat. Sweating buckets as you head up the steep incline of House Mountain can degrade the entire experience. Trying to get into a new hobby of outdoor activity is much easier when you can count on invigorating lower temperatures to keep you focused and energized.

Although, in my opinion, Rockbridge County is astoundingly beautiful every day of the year, nothing can beat the magnificent display of autumn colors visible from atop popular mountain hiking destinations. If you are looking to be impressed by the area’s natural beauty and get a visual reward at the end of your trek, consider taking a trip to McAfee Knob – one of the most photographed locations on the Appalachian Trail – or any other mountain range close to campus this fall. I can promise that the views of Virginia will be well worth the journey, as well as the apprehension that can accompany becoming an outdoorsy person.

I am very glad that I took the opportunity to explore many of the popular hiking trails and mountaintops around Lexington last fall. I am looking forward to discovering new outdoor experiences this year, and I hope that anyone who has felt uneasy about the natural world will consider the benefits of seeing Rockbridge County from a completely different perspective during the season that best showcases its beauty. I can guarantee that you will come away from the experience with an enriched appreciation for the region and for the world of possibilities that being outdoorsy opens up.