It is September again and along with the nice warm days of summer one can sense the crispness in the morning air. The peaks around the lodge area as well as the ones in the distance appear sharp and more defined. After the first few days of September, larch tree needles start getting a faint yellow coloring which are hardly noticeable at first until they attain the magic vivid colours that lure hikers to the alpine.
There is urgency as ground mammals stimulated by light, temperatures and their internal clock prepare for winter. Bunches of vegetation accumulated by pikas are drying in the sun on top of the rocks. They will move these into their burrows when ready. Hoary marmots can be observed running to their homes carrying winter food in their mouths. Ptarmigan families continue their slow walk and peck continuously storing their food as fat for the cold season that will come. Their plumage initially mottled is on its way to changing to white for winter.
Grizzly bears will shift their focus to digging up fat squirrels. Bears will till the land as a direct result of their digging. Movement of large boulders is common and new plant growth will be seen next spring. Birds of prey from kestrels to falcons will continue feeding on ground dwellers until they too will move on as the snows come. Shrews, mice, weasels, squirrels will also be food for owls.
The larch trees will continue to turn yellow and they will reach the golden bright colour from mid-September to the end of the month. Light snow showers will enhance the beauty of the setting as the local and distant mountains get the occasional white mantle ephemeral at first but working towards the permanent white winter blanket.
For some, September is the preferred time to be in the alpine because of the grand views, as colour changes day to day. Grasses, forbes, shrubs also change from the mature green to the golden brown colour. Invigorated by the fresh fall mountain air, people seem to get that extra energy and enthusiasm that makes visits to the mountains such an unforgettable experience before winter takes over the landscape. Rocky steep mountain sides with a dusting of snow show the intricate movement of the earth’s crust over geological time and the visitor can observe the folds on the sedimentary rock. That sediment that was initially deposited into the sea or large lakes many years ago.
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Come and visit us summer or winter. We love to share our piece of paradise with you!