Fall means a lot of things: school starts, the weather cools down, the leaves change color, wildlife is active preparing for winter, and the holidays are almost here. One great activity that is often forgotten with the end of summer is camping. Autumn camping, however, can be the best there is!
Some of the reasons fall camping is more difficult are the very things that make it so great. First of all, with school in session, planning a time when you can get away can be difficult. On the other hand, since everyone else just started school as well, you're favorite camping spots aren't nearly as crowded. Sometimes you can get away with being the only group around, and that makes for a fun trip.
If you camp in the mountains you know it can get cold. Even during the summer nights can be pretty chilly. In the fall you're guaranteed a cool trip. While this keeps a lot of people at home, those who are willing to brave the frosty air (and pack some extra clothes and blankets) are rewarded with a special serenity and beauty. A blanket of frost on the forest can be absolutely breathtaking, especially if you have a cup of hot cocoa in your hands.
Since fewer people are out, the trails are a lot less busy as well. So get your quad ready for some good riding! You can ride a lot more freely when you aren't constrained by crowds. You do have to remember that fall can bring rain though, so be prepared for mud and get your ATV shocks ready for the potholes.
There are a few things you have to be aware of when fall camping though. First and foremost is the cold. The temperatures can vary widely in some regions, so be prepared for a variety. Keep your warm clothes close by all the time, but wear them in layers so you can remove some if the day time brings high temps. Bring a warm sleeping bag and extra blankets. When you head to bed, bring a warm water bottle in with you.
Since it gets dark so much sooner, make sure all the lights on your ride are in good working order. While you're at it, double check your lanterns and flashlights. You don't want to be left out in the dark! Get your fire going early so you aren't scrambling because sunset crept up on you. While you're at it, cook a nice hot meal over the fire. Not only will it be delicious, but it will prepare you to settle down for the evening. Autumn evenings are the best for fireside singing, especially if someone in your group knows how to play guitar.
It's always a good idea to be aware of hunting season as well. A group of hunters may not be too happy about ATVs riding around and making noise. Whether it's your fault or not, they may blame you if they aren't having good luck. You also need to be aware of them. It's just a good rule of thumb to wear hunter orange anytime you're in the woods around hunting season.
With fall upon us, it's time to get those last few ATV rides of the season in. It's also time to start thinking about winter though. You may want to take a look at your snowmobiles and make sure they are ready to go. If you need a tune up or new snowmobile shocks, get it taken care of before the season rush. In the meantime though, enjoy the great outdoors.