Earlier this week I was able to sneak up to The Cascade Mountains with a friend and her dog for a hike. We don’t usually have much of a fall in Western Washington. The stereotype about Seattle having two seasons: Summer and Rain, is a stereotype for reasons or pure accuracy. Although one day does not a fall make, this was a day that would easily stand up to some of the best I remember from growing up in the Midwest.

The day was so absolutely lovely and gorgeous that throughout it I heard several people say, Enjoy it—it’s gonna be the last one we get this year. Generally I think folks who say such despairing things about the weather are assholes: even if they’re right, and they probably are if the forecast below is any indication, nobody wants to hear them being right.

The early morning had been a slippery gray, but when we arrived at the trailhead the day had spooled out and shaken off its nightclothes, and a blue sky dappled with white cotton-candy clouds had stretched itself like a magician’s robe overhead. My friend and I headed up the trail, the dog running happily ahead of us and then returning quickly to assure herself of our well-being, a pattern she repeated, like all good dogs must, the entirety of the 9-mile trip

The air along the trail was brisk but plenty warm; smells of mint and cedar and anise rose alongside the heavy mustiness of decaying forest. Shafts of sunlight pushed through the deep forest shade, glinting in happy refractions off the baubles of dew that dripped from the tips of fir trees. Below the talus slopes that covered the mountainsides above us like chained armor patches of aspens flared and burned in profligate colorations, and the creek waters stunned our hands with their coldness.

Hiking is one of the few times when I walk fast (my day-to-day pace is such that I have in fact been lapped by a banana slug), and I’m not normally one to stop along the trail and linger with a camera. But the day was simply too lovely not to capture a few shots, which are posted below. And if the weatherman-echoing-assholes are right and that was the last of fall, so be it. For a day at the least it was lovely.