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October gave a party;

The leaves by hundreds came:

The ashes, oaks, and maples,

And those of every name.

— George Cooper: “October’s Party

Check the thermometer. Mercury dips; outdoor plants must be moved inside; leaves blow away in gusts of chilly wind; an icy rain splatters intermittently. Even though being outdoors becomes a bit more challenging, Fall hiking is one of my favorite activities.

Thich Nhat Hanh said “When you walk, arrive with every step. That is walking meditation. There is nothing else to it.”

Scene: Santa Fe National Forest

Last Friday, my friend Mary and I chose the Borrego/Bear Wallow Trail for our morning outing. When we arrived at the trailhead parking lot — a short 20-minute drive from Santa Fe — we were the only folks there. We started our walk before 9 a.m., moving briskly to ward off the cold. 

This popular hike is a moderate four miles, following Trails 152, 254, and 182. A map displayed at the trailhead shows the way. One should turn left from Borrego onto Winsor, then left again on Bear Wallow. Basically a lollipop shaped route.

Stepping into the forest is stepping into another world.
Mary listens to the gentle soughing of wind through treetops.

Going down the wide dirt steps into the forest, we were captivated by the aspen. Their branches seemed to sweep the sky. Overhead, golden leaves quaked. The trees’ towering white trunks shimmered against deep green ponderosa pine trees.. Brilliant gold leaves trembled, rustled, danced, shook. Underfoot, fallen leaves formed a magic carpet. The views were so lovely, we found ourselves singing. Instead of “follow the yellow brick road, it was “follow the yellow leaf road.” A little over  two hours later, we’d finished. All too soon,  time to return to everyday life.


*Rain gear in your pack (jacket, rain pants)

*Hat with a chin strap (Fall wind can be blustery)

*First aid kit

*Plenty clothing layers than you think you’ll need.

*High protein snacks- beef sticks, nuts, raisins, energy bars

Elaine Pinkerton has hiked the hills around Santa Fe, New Mexico, for 50 years.

Join Elaine on Mondays for reflections on the writing, hiking and the outdoors, Santa Fe life. The world as seen through adoption-colored glasses. Check out her newest novel The Hand of Ganesh. Follow adoptees Clara Jordan and Dottie Benet in their  quest to find Dottie’s birthparents. Order today from Amazon or http://www.pocolpress.com. And thanks for reading!