The weather was a bit chilly when I left our campsite and the ground was littered with golden leaves. I’ve been here many times before but usually not in late October when just the heartiest of campers — and duck hunters — make the trek to South Higgins Lake State Park in Roscommon.
Just this summer I enjoyed the beautiful trails on Marl Lake across the street from the state park, which for some reason inspired a 12 Days of Christmas-themed blog post. As I headed to the trail head, I saw a photographer, his camera lens trained on swans swimming near the shore. I smiled and picked up the pace only to stop in my tracks by the display behind the birds.
The same sky that had prompted me to figuratively shake a fist in its direction for dumping buckets of rain on our RV the day before was showing off with white, fluffy clouds back-lit in shades of gold and orange.
I paused for a moment but quickly continued, alert for the sounds of the white-tailed deer I spotted just minutes before since being hit by a deer while running on trails is apparently a thing.
Spotting no deer in the vicinity, I picked up my pace and focused on the trail in front, taking quick, darting peeks at the lake on my left. My feet made crunching sounds as I stepped on a thick layer of pine needles and leaves shed by the almost-barren trees around me.
My pace slowed as I picked my way through the root-iest (yeah, that’s now a word) areas of the trail, avoiding anything that could lead to a twisted ankle.
Thankfully, some of the larger roots were moss-covered and easier to avoid.
And then, Christmas.
I caught a very faint smell of something sweet as I neared a grove of firs. The scent magnified as I neared, giving me the feeling of having walked into December and momentarily making me forget my frozen hands. That’s when I spotted what I can only call a Charlie Brown sapling.
I smiled once again and inhaled, enjoying the treat while it lasted.
The rest of the run was just as enjoyable and I chose to turn around halfway through the loop just to run through this area again. Thankfully, it didn’t snow.
I’ve often complained about fall in the 25-plus years I’ve lived in the Michigan tundra. I’ve always seen it as a time when everything around me dies and have seen no reason to join the chorus of fall-loving adoration. But as I spend more and more time outside, I’m feeling a glimmer of appreciation for its beauty.
I had just grudgingly reached this conclusion when I rounded the corner and saw another autumn display worthy of photographing.
A fall Christmas gift of sorts for this summer-loving chica.
What’s your favorite season? Do you have any favorite trails you like to run in during the fall?