Here’s the thing: October is the best month, period. You spend all of September impatiently waiting for cooler weather and Instagramming every lone yellowed leaf you come across in anticipation of a proper autumn scene, and then October comes and steps up the game. It’s autumn, folks – for real. The colors are exploding, the heat of summer is finally vanishing, and everything from lattes to beer are flavored with pumpkin.
I could go on for days about how wonderful October is, but here are the seven defining elements that make this month superior to the rest of the year:
Autumn Foliage (and fall road trips)
It’s the most obvious sign that October is here: Every tree in sight is trading in greenery for leaves painted yellow, red, and fiery orange hues. Hikes are impossibly scenic, road trips transform from boring drives to spectacular roadside displays, and the background of every climbing photo becomes more alluring than the actual climb. I adore when the wind stirs trees and causes them to rain leaves down – pure magic.
If there’s ever been a time to hop in your car and drive to North Carolina to cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s now.
With a few notable exceptions (I’m looking at you, Squamish), the summertime renders bouldering nearly impossible – unless you’re into greasy holds, swarms of bugs, and sweltering heat. After obsessively checking the southeastern weather forecasts for weeks, it’s finally here: bouldering season is upon us. The next few months will be prime season for crushing projects, smearing up friction dependent lines, and not having to worry about brushing slimy holds after every attempt. Hang up your harness, and unleash the crash pads!
Pumpkin Flavored Everything
Not everyone jives with the outdoorsy aspects of autumn, but there’s one thing we can all agree on: pumpkin. And even though pumpkin spice lattes have been lurking on the scene since late August, October is when it’s perfectly excusable to add pumpkin to anything edible. Breweries put pumpkin ale on tap, my mom invents crazy things like pumpkin lasagna, and my favorite dessert of all time makes a comeback: pumpkin pie. I even found pumpkin spice flavored marshmallows the other day – and yes, they were delicious.
Craving pumpkin? Check out my homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe!
My favorite smell, of all time, is the wafting aroma of burning wood. There is just something so comforting and reminiscent of the south about ‘em – and finally, it’s cool enough in the evenings to set a batch of wood ablaze. The best part about campfires? The way the smell lingers in your jacket for weeks, reminding you of the autumn adventures you just went on. Break out the skewers and bring on the marshmallows!
Apple Picking and Hot Apple Cider
While pumpkin is the reigning circular food of the fall season, apples deserve some love too. Autumn presents the perfect conditions for bundling up in a cozy sweater and toting a basket through charming orchards while loading up on juicy hand-picked fruit. It’s an annual October activity for me, and visits to apple farms always give me an excuse to indulge on fresh apple cider, dried apple rings, and homemade applesauce. Honeycrisps may not be in season anymore, but there’s still a bounty of deliciousness to be reaped from orchards. Many have pumpkin picking too!
Flannels, Scarves, and Cozy Layers
If it’s chilly enough for campfires, you know it’s crisp enough to unearth cold weather clothing from the depths of your closet. I can finally justify the unreasonable collection of knit scarves, oversized beanies, insulated boots, and plaid flannels I’ve kept tucked in the van all year – it’s October, baby! But forget my own appearances, every gal knows the best part of fall fashion is how irresistible a handsome man’s beard looks when it’s bundled up in layers of plaid and cozy jackets.
Onset of the Seasonal Spirit
There is absolutely nothing okay about seeing Christmas decorations starting to go on sale, but October marks the beginning of the holiday season. Folks start decorating their doorsteps (or vans, like my buddy here in Kentucky just did) with haystacks, carved pumpkins, and spooky ghouls for Halloween, then turkeys and stuffed pilgrims come on the scene for Thanksgiving – and before you know it, Santa is coming to town. I’m a huge sucker for the spirit of the holidays, with all the eggnog-induced merriment, family gatherings, and heaps of homemade feasts. I can almost taste my family’s traditional bacon-covered turkey now.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve successfully sparked a need to go munch on some pumpkin marshmallows while wearing my favorite beanie and daydreaming of all my bouldering projects at Rocktown. Carry on, October lovers – this is your month!