Northern Wilds Magazine
Every September, author Rae Poynter takes part in her own annual Fall Fun Day, which includes a hike with her dog and delicious fall treats. | RAE POYNTER

Fall Adventures: Fall Fun Day

What’s the best thing about fall? Is it the bright, cool days that just beckon you outside? Is it pulling out that cozy sweater for the first time in months? Is it baking something that fills the whole house with delicious smells? The correct answer, of course, is all of them. A few years ago, I decided that there could be nothing better than synthesizing all the best things about fall and packing them into one fun-filled day, slapping on a delightfully dorky name to top it all off. And so, with great excitement, my annual Fall Fun Day was born.

A few rules and regulations govern Fall Fun Day. It should be in September, when the maples are peaking along the North Shore’s ridgelines. It must involve delicious fall treats. And dogs are most definitely

The day’s festivities begin with hiking. Though I’ve tried out a few locations, my favorite fall hike is hiking from Caribou Lake to the Poplar River Overlook in Lutsen. Sometimes it’s been just my dog and me, sometimes my husband has joined, and recently my sister and her golden Retriever have made the trek up from Wisconsin to join us—the more the merrier! The trails through the maple forests are busy this time of year, but I don’t mind—there’s something about the changing colors and those bright September skies that seems to put a smile on everyone’s faces.

After a good long jaunt through the woods, we stop through town on our way home to buy fresh spices and other ingredients for the afternoon’s baking adventures. I simmer the ingredients for made-from-scratch chai on the stovetop while we page through pie and cake recipes before settling on something fall-themed to bake. Then, while our treats bake and the pups nap, we chat over our mugs of chai, recapping the favorite parts of our hike.

At last, when our treats are out of the oven, we cut into the first tastes of fall. My sister introduced the tradition of watching Anne of Green Gables to top the day off, and there’s something very winning about the pairing of apple pie and Anne Shirley’s adventures.

Finally, the sun goes down—earlier than it should, it seems—and Fall Fun Day is a wrap for the year. Though we’ll continue hitting the trails and soaking in the colors all season long, I’m glad that we’ve created a tradition that has become like its own little holiday. Because if you ask me, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

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