It’s getting to be that time of year here in Yellowstone Country when a lot of my friends take a lesson from the local bears and other wildlife and start to think about nesting. The temperatures are getting a little cooler all the time, and the leaves have been dropping from the trees. Winter is coming.
I’m not one of the nesters though. This is the time of the year when I like to take long hikes and spend hours at a time fishing in one of my secret trout streams. There’s something magical about October. In the next few days, the last of the lodges in Yellowstone National Park will close so the National Park Service can prepare for the winter season. Days get shorter, and it gets a little quieter.
But just because the trees are dropping their leaves and creating a multi-colored carpet across our valleys doesn’t mean we have to hightail it into our houses. Here are some of my favorite ways to play outside this month:
– I like to watch the wildlife in Wapiti Valley. Wildlife viewing is at its peak this time of year, with bull elk still emitting a distinctive bugling sound to get the attention of potential mates and plenty of pronghorn, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and eagles to watch as well.
– As I mentioned, I have my secret trout streams, but I like to hear about other streams too. I enjoy hanging with my pals in the fly fishing shops and seeking out new maps and advice from the many expert fishing guides in town.
– It’s a good time to take a rock-climbing class from one of the outfitters. With so much porous rock creating drainages and rock formations, there are plenty of places to climb, and the conditions are usually pretty good right up until the end of the month.
– I like to get out my copy of “East of Yellowstone – a Hiker’s Guide to Cody” and find a new trail I haven’t yet tried. This is a great hikers’ companion, and authors JD Tanner and Emily Ressler-Tanner did a terrific job with details about length of each hike, time, difficulty, best season, access and landowner information for about 20 different regional hikes.
October is also a great time for a return visit to two of our famous museums – the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center and Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Both have a variety of rotating exhibits so even if you’ve been there before, you’re going to see something new.
So, while some of my friends – you know who you are – have taken to watching marathon “Breaking Bad” sessions and returning to their long-neglected knitting projects, I’m still roaming around Yellowstone Country. Only with a few more layers than last month.
Until next time, I’m loving life and “falling” for Yellowstone Country.