My internal body clock is set for early morning wakeups. Time zones don’t matter. With or without an alarm, I’m up and moving before the sun crests the horizon.

For me, it’s not a problem. I love getting up at the crack of dawn and walking the dogs in the still of daybreak.

Living in suburban Houston, I didn’t worry about walking in the dark. Streetlights lit my way.

Now that I live in the forest in a state that supports a night sky (meaning streetlights are limited and rare), walking in the dark is a different story. Too many critters like the twilight hours for their prowling.

So before I leave the house, I check on for local sunrise time and start walking about ten minutes before or just as the sky begins to lighten.

On a recent walk, I spotted sure signs that summer is ending and fall is in the air.

fall shadowsFirst, shadows are changing. You can see what I mean in this photo.

Another clue—temperatures are dropping. This morning it was 42 degrees. The scent of wood burning in fireplaces hovered around some cabins.

For those of you facing triple digit highs, I’m sure that sounds heavenly. Truthfully, it was chilly. I was thankful for my gloves and hooded jacket.

Another hint is our shrinking population. South Fork is a summer tourist town. Our numbers swell from three hundred year round to 3,000-4,000 during May, June, July and August. RV parks are emptying. Shutters cover windows of summer cabins. The exodus has begun. Summer folk are heading home.

The absolute confirmation that winter is heading our way is found in the Aspens along our walking route.

Aspen w gold.1
aspen w gold.2

Yep. That’s yellow among the green. The Aspens are turning.

Fall is on the way, which means wildlife is on the move scavenging for food.

Bears have started their annual bulk up for hibernation and need 12,000 calories a day. That means lots of overturned trash and destroyed barbeque grills. Time to seriously heed the signs posted all along our walk.

feeding signs