Waking up on this cool morning a heavy blanket of clouds fills the sky, knowing you are heading toward the mountains you wonder if the predicted sun breaks will actually come to pass. Should you pack for rain, sun, heat? Opting for a mixture of all you head out to meet like-minded travelers for an impromptu group ride.

Allowing the group leader to set the pace and travel the agreed upon route, you settle into your position. You appreciate the restful rhythm that permeates the group, each person taking their spot in the collective movement of the whole. A shared experience of community. Each stop, full of smiles, laughter, and conversations draws you into the group for the next leg.

A few of the leaves are showing the coming fall, the tips carefully painted with layers of yellow and brown, the green vibrant veins restricting their flow in preparation for the winter to come. The first signs of fall. Meandering through the country roads, corn fields ripe with ears of corn, pumpkin patches getting ready for fall festivities, and local farm stands dot the countryside. A very hometown feeling.

Groups of bicyclists are sharing the road, as well. Families and friends forming floating communities join their tubes for a lazy ride down the river. Hikers with foam beds and backpacks in tow, head out on the trails staking their place for the weekend. After all the division that has filled the news, it is good for your soul to witness the community, friends and families gather to share experiences and support one another.

As you travel closer to the mountains, the morning mist envelopes you and the dampness fills your lungs and coats your clothes. Glad you decided on that extra layer, you head deep into the forest. The dark chocolate colored trunks of Douglas fir trees with branches wearing sweaters of moss narrow the road in front of you. Old wood slat bridges speak of a times long past, and the sweet fragrance of a fresh blackberry pie fills the air as you travel through fruit laden blackberry brambles. You can’t wait to stop and enjoy the bounty of this season.

Reaching your destination, the mist enveloped mountain tops unveil granite cliffs as you look for rock-climbers in the crags. Climbing off your bike you breathe deeply the mountain air, glad for your leathers to protect you as you hunt for wild blackberries along the river’s edge. Sitting and enjoying your berry treasure you are very thankful you decided to take this trip today, an impromptu opportunity to get out and explore.