Favourite Month

They’re wrong… it’s not… don’t listen… to whom? Those glass-half-full people who have gleefully been telling you since June 21 that ‘the days are getting shorter’ and now that September has arrived, ‘summer’s over.’

They’re wrong, not just in a strict seasonal sense (summer doesn’t officially become fall until Sept 23), but for all the reasons in this tidy bulleted list establishing why September is this column’s favourite month:

Cool mornings for that early start.
Clear days for beautiful sunshine without the powerful heat.
Crisp views from the summit (no heat-haze).
Still a few berries left for trail-snacks.
Snow gone in all but the highest-shadiest places (but don’t fret snow-fans, it won’t be long before it’s back!).
Fall colours starting to kick in (yeaaaaa larch needle trails!).
Pretty much no-one on the trails (not that it’s ever busy though, eh?).
And dang, it’s just beautiful in September!

OK, so we agree that it’s favourite-month, what else is there to think about when you head out in September for that fab day-hike to Mt Hosmer’s Western Pinnacle, that half-day Lizard Lake visit, those couple of hours leg-stretches up to the Montane Hut?

Well, even though it’s definitely not fall, the days are a teensy bit shorter, so we need to take that into consideration when deciding where to go and when to be ‘back at the car.’ Even if I’m planning a big day, I try to leave myself an hour or so of daylight before my planned finish, just in case there are hiccoughs along the way.

Sunset on the first of Sept is 8:30pm, shortening to 7:15pm by the end of the month, so while there’s a bit less time available, we’re not talking Longyearbyen here.

As fall approaches, it can be cooler, so it’s time to get back into proper preparedness (if you’ve been getting lazy and hiking with just shorts and a tee). I try to put my mindset at, “What would I need if I had to sleep out,” rather than “it’s a beautiful day, I won’t need a windproof ” etc. Favourite or not, it can definitely rain big in September, and although not every year, we may see snow, and overnight temps at elevation are going to be reliably around or even below zero. Shove a rain jacket and pants in the bag along with an insulating layer, toque and gloves, as well as your customary snacks and water.

Finally, as the end of snow-free hiking season is in sight (not over, mind you), consider giving back a bit to the trails. The magnificent Fernie Trails Alliance team of (a very few) paid workers, and (a very many) amazing volunteers have contributed such a lot to our backwoods pleasure, it’s a great time to give time, effort, and donations. Two easy and effective ways to help, get fit, make friends, and have a laugh are:

Come out to one of the Thursday evening trail-work parties (ferniefix.com/event/2023/05/25/fernie-trails-alliance-thursday-night-work-party).

Have a great (favourite) month, hiking fans!