Getting Outside During Stick Season

Photo by Krista Cheney
From late September to December, the Vermont landscape undergoes a dramatic transformation from late summer’s verdant greens, to our stellar fall foliage, to bare trees and quieter woods. For Vermont residents, the time after the autumn leaves have fallen and before the first snowfall is often referred to as “Stick Season.” When you get outside during this time of year, you’ll see why: the trees, free of their leaves, look like sticks against the mid-fall sky. Some people see Stick Season as a chance to cozy up indoors, cook up some hearty fall dishes, and prepare to hibernate for the winter. Other people find this period to be particularly peaceful and rejuvenating and look forward to getting outside to enjoy all of the advantages of Vermont’s “sixth season.”

There are lots of ways to gain an appreciation for Stick Season like raking up and then playing in a pile of crunchy fallen leaves or taking your kayak out for a tranquil paddle under a clear November sky. Going for a hike during this season is a unique way to experience the beauty of Vermont’s natural spaces. The newly bare trees afford some tremendous views on trails covered with dense tree growth during the summer. This is also a wonderful time to try to try to hear and spot wildlife in the woods. Some higher elevation trails may have some snow, so be prepared and pack with extra warm clothes for your hike. Hunting is another activity that occurs during Stick Season and an important part of Vermont’s cultural heritage. If you’re heading into the woods, remember to wear blaze orange and walk on more established trails.

Seeing Vermont during this time of year really makes you appreciate the full range of beauty here. If you are typically an early hibernator, or just like to wax your skis before the first snowfall, consider heading outdoors this fall to experience the tranquility and beauty of the changing season.  Pack up a thermos of hot apple cider, grab your coat, and be prepared to become a Stick Season convert.  


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