Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For August 28th, 2009 Edition.

I'm certain many folks have noted fall colors are already popping out on a number of our deciduous trees, the red maple being the leader of the pack. Every year it seems weather pronisacators began predicting an early fall due to the fact a smattering of red maples began showing off their reds, yellows and orange what seems to be a tad too early. But such activity in the forest is perfectly normal, as red maples simply like to be the lead-off batter for the colorful fall season.

Many of the early colors that crop up in August take place on red maples that are less than healthy trees. Often one or two limbs will develop color earlier than normal. Quite often these limbs are damaged appendages and are in the early stages of dying. Another factor that prompts early color is what humans would consider stress. Most all our trees here in the drought stricken north are showing subtle signs of stress due to our ongoing water shortage.

But full fledged fall is just around the corner, and personally - I can't wait!

What follows is a portion of a item I penned many years ago that I entitled "Outdoor Ambiance" and I decided to share my inner most feeling on the subject of fall with my readers.

To me, Fall is the fairest season of all and I'd like to share with you some of the special sights and sounds that make Fall so special! Enjoy!

Frost crystals on your windshield, sparkling like diamonds in the early morning sunlight.

A "V" of squabbling geese, silhouetted against a dark blue October sky, the youngsters struggling to stay in formation. But now they're southward bound. (Wasn't it just a few weeks ago you watched as they headed north?)

Yellow, red and orange leaves rapidly replacing the lush green shades of summer.

Thin layers of morning ice on water puddles, glistening in the rays of a pale morning sun.

The crunch of dry leaves as you walk familiar trails that led to nowhere in particular.

Searching for buck "rubs" and "scrapes", as their breeding season draws near.

Listening to the whistling wings of migrating mallards in the predawn gloom.

Picking wild mushroom after a warm fall rain.

Spider webs outlined with frost on an early morning walk.

Noticing the air has suddenly taken on the "smell of fall". If only you could bottle it!

Nibbling a few sour wild cranberries, even though you know you don't like them raw.

Varieties of birds you haven't seen since spring, now begging for food.

The music of a pileated woodpecker hammering on a dead tree in search of carpenter ants.

Trying to gather a pail or two of hazelnuts before the chipmunks and pine squirrels beat you to them.

The smell of wood smoke from your fireplace, drifting on the crisp fall air.

Seeing the first faint glimmer of the Aurora Borealis dancing in the northern sky.

Taking that final canoe trip of the season before the creek is ice covered.

Giving in to an urge to lay on a pile of dead ferns on a sunny hillside.

Watching a pair of gray jays and a flock of cedar waxwings pick berries from a mountain ash tree.

Suddenly realizing your local pair of fawns and their mother are now nearly the same size.

Also noticing their reddish summer coats have become chocolate brown.

The lakes have become quiet once more, gone for now are the whine and roar of water ski boats and obnoxious jet skis.

Realizing the adult loons have left for the Gulf Coast, leaving their young behind. You have always been amazed that, somehow, these young loons have a built in instinct to do likewise, just before freeze up.

Like all seasons, fall is especially special to many persons. It is the humble opinion of this writer that "fall is the fairest season of all". Fall allows one to recover from the hectic pace of summer with the never ending hoards of tourists who leave behind large piles of Jackson's, Grant's and Franklin's. Fall is my time to look forward to many outdoor activities, which I selfishly enjoy.

Often, many people view fall as simply an early phase of winter. But that is far from the truth! Like all our seasons, Fall has an abundance of beauty, but to see and recognize this special beauty, one must separate the forest from the trees.

Who can really say which season is the "best"? Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, has created such a wide and varied assortment of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and experiences, that trying to list them all would be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish in ones lifetime! So take your pick. Create your own menu. But above all else, take advantage of the opportunities the out of doors offers. But to fully appreciate the total ambiance available in the great out of doors, one must follow the instructions that were once used at railroad crossings. "Stop, Look, and Listen", but also add "Smell".

Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin.   Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean,  both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide.   Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email:  or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.

Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here

Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger

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