Nearing the end of prime Fall color season, we returned to a favorite hike at Sweedler Preserve, just minutes from our house. The steep trail was strewn with colorful wet fallen leaves making the footing a bit slick at times. As is often the case, we had the hike all to ourselves. Nearby Buttermilk Falls State Park lures most of the tourists, leaving Sweedler and Thayer Preserves to far fewer visitors.

Quite the visual feast is jammed into the relatively short loop hike: waterfalls, hemlocks, a wide variety of deciduous trees, eskers, a flood plain with an explosion of wildflowers in early summer. Resident squirrels and birds reminded us of our visitor status as we passed through.

It’s been quite a beautiful Fall this year and we’ve been fortunate to get in several hikes to enjoy it. Nature will soon be scrubbing the remaining colors away in preparation for Winter.