Time stands still most of the time. A long summer day, an endless winter night. Autumn is when one experiences the speed of time: the rush to harvest and preserve a garden’s bounty, the scheduling crunch to winterize a home and vehicles — to make preparations for the time being. Autumn is a time of productivity and a time of transition to completion. Leaves turn red and gold, salmon return to home waters, the morning air turns cold, while the warmth of an afternoon sun dances on a dwindling river. Nothing gold can stay, as Robert Frost observed.
The spectacular autumn trails became popular in recent years. Fifteen years ago, there were maybe half a dozen cars at the Golden Lakes Loop trailhead during peak larch season. This year produced a full parking lot, campground and overflow area, with over 70 cars by early morning. Luckily, I had a back-up trail in mind. I drove a few more miles to a lesser known, but equally beautiful area.
I usually only see one other car parked at the trailhead. But on this day, the limited parking area — which can comfortably hold eight cars — was completely blocked by three cars parked parallel. The only flat space remaining was in dry brittle grass … a fire hazard risk I was not going to take. Note to drivers: park nose first, not parallel, so everyone can park safely. Don’t be a parking hog, or a fire bug.
I decided to enjoy the fall colors a little closer to town and within walking distance of ample parking. The Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation has three beautiful restoration areas with public trails: Twisp Discovery Ponds, the Cottonwood Trail, and the Sa Teekh Wa Trail. The restoration projects are a prime location to view returning salmon amidst the changing colors of riparian areas. For more information and trail guides, visit www.methowsalmon.org/get-involved/explore-habitat-project.
Speaking of time-sensitive activities …
Consider this October column a gentle reminder to schedule an annual cancer screening and talk with your doctor about your risk factors and a recommended test schedule. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. One in eight women will develop breast cancer. Of the two most common cancers, 90% of people who receive the diagnosis have no family history of the disease. Colon cancer is the third most common form of cancer and cases are on the rise for adults under the age of 50.
Before meeting with your doctor, write down your family history of cancer. If there is a history of prostate cancer in males, there is a higher risk of breast cancer in the female members of the family and vice versa. The American Cancer Society has a list of questions you can take with you to the doctor. The more you know, the more prepared you can be when and if you ever receive a diagnosis. Cancer screenings are not scary, they are simply another preparation we make with each passing of the seasonings.