I Had a Cliche Fall Day

I don’t know about you, but living in a small orchard town in Massachusetts, fall is a pretty big deal. It starts in September, with the Instagram pictures of girls going apple picking and drinking pumpkin lattes and pumpkin beer while eating pumpkin muffins.This goes on until the 3rd week of September.

Next, you start seeing Tweets about how people “Can’t wait for spooky season!” This is when you know you’re in too deep. By this point, stores start putting out Thanksgiving decorations and begin to spray cinnamon inside to spark the whole “Fall” experience off. Now, if you haven’t read my posts before, you should know that I’m not really a festive person, and all the corny fall things make me angry. Or so I thought.

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Look at all that Vitamin C

The transition started off with a wimper; one of my friends has been wanting to go apple picking for weeks, and since I already went for my annual trip with my mother, my quota for apple picking excursions was filled, but I figured it’d be nice to get out of the house, so I told her I’d go. We’re driving past, and it’s a madhouse, (on a holiday, no surprise), so we decide to meet some more of our friends at a nearby winery. This brings me to Basic Fall Activity #2: Wine Tastings.

Now, I like wine, but I’m not a connoisseur, I don’t understand where people get flavors like “burnt toffee and citrus” I just taste white wine. With that in mind, I went into this wine tasting with low expectations. Boy, was I wrong. We get there, and for 10 dollars, not only do I get 5 glasses of wine to try, I also get a fancy wine glass. Things are starting to click with me. I get why people like this now.

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It’s not alcoholism, it’s a hobby

5 glasses of wine later, I’m starting to enjoy myself. I start to look around the winery, and I notice it’s got an amazing view of the changing leaves. I spent way too much time looking at the leaves, I have a new appreciation for foliage, and for malbecs.

After buying a bottle, we leave the winery, while debating on what to do next. I have a sudden craving for apple cider donuts, and by this point all the families at the orchard should be gone, so we swing back over to the orchard for some hot and ready donuts. Upon arrival, I find that the donut prices have gone down, and that I can get 6 donuts for a lot less than the 3 I had originally planned on devouring. There’s nothing like a hot, sugary donut 5 seconds off the donut machine. After consuming 3 donuts in half the time it probably took to make them, I decided that I needed to walk around and burn off some of these calories, because that’s something I care about sometimes.

My fall stroll was a lot nicer than I expected; the air was cool, but not cold, and there was a slight breeze that kept the bugs off me. I should’ve taken pictures, maybe I’ll upload some next time I’m in the mood for a stroll, because the orchard provided a spectacular view of the changing leaves. I totally understand why boring New York people drive hours at a time to come see them, they really are cool.

It started to get dark out, so naturally I ended my stroll. Conveniently, the apple orchard is within walking distance of my house, so I mosey on home and make myself some dinner. About an hour after I finish eating, another one of my friends texts me “Do you wanna drink beer and chop down trees for a fire?” Usually, the answer to that question would be “Hell no, I’m not messing with a chainsaw after a day of drinking.” Not today. Said friend, knowing my penchant for hating Fall activities, followed up with “The Packers game is on”, knowing that I love to see Aaron Rogers lose.

When I get to my buddy’s house, and the first thing I see is a veritable graveyard of Bud Lite cans and Skol Wintergreen laying on the deck. Shocker. In the distance, a voice rang out: “Caleb, you lil’ tit-fucker, grab my ax, I’ll show you howta split wood like you’ve still got some fuckin’ balls!” Well, that’s not what I imagined I’d walk into, but I dig it. I sit back and watch my two redneck friends argue about woodcutting techniques while I sit back and sip a beer. This whole “fall” thing isn’t actually that bad after all.

My Journey Climbing Mt. Douglas

Hiking is a weird concept for me to understand. Part of me gets why people like it, it’s physical, it’s outside, you get a nice view at the end, etc. That being said: FUCK hiking. I recently went with a friend of mine, and it was quite a day.

First, I had to be up at 8am, which is usually when I’d be in bed, watching YouTube videos of retail workers snapping and beating up rude customers. After rousting myself out of bed, I decide to be proactive and pack a cooler; if I’m climbing a big ass mountain, I’m gonna need a few beers to take the edge off. After finishing up my hiking survival kit, I drove over to my friend’s place to pick her up and head out. Now, she’s a bit more experienced than I am, and she’s definitely in better shape than I am, so when she said that Mt. Douglas was an easy climb, I was a tad skeptical. Upon arrival, I notice that the parking lot is half a mile away from the start of the climbing path, and primarily uphill. Great, I get a taste of what I’m in for today.

After trekking up the road to the trail entrance, I notice that the trail is awfully steep for a so-called “easy climb” and begin to question my decision. As we begin the climb, I notice that I forgot my water bottle in the car, half a mile away. After weighing my options, I decide that Miller Lite is going to have to do for the time being.

About half an hour into the hike, my legs start to get sore, and we take a break. From this height, I can see the entire valley, and it’s breathtaking. Even from halfway up. My friend starts talking about all of these crazy places she wants to go, and I’m thinking “Let’s settle down there, we haven’t even finished this hike, and we’re talking about going on another one?” I spark up a joint, refresh my beverage, and try to muster the energy to move.

Another half hour later, we’re almost at the top, and I’m running out of gas. I think to myself, if some crunchy granola hippy can do this tripping face on acid, I can too. I channel every 80’s action hero and football player and push through the pain. Fuck, I need to get in shape again. After running out of inspirational 80’s figures, we reach the top of the mountain.

I get it now. I get why people do this to themselves. From the top of the tower pictured above, you can see for miles. I can even see Sebago Lake, and I’m betting if I had some binoculars, I could see my house too. As I’m still enjoying the scenery, and my third beer-flavored water, my friend is getting ready to head back down. I’m not having any of that, I spent 2 hours busting my ass to get here, I’m gonna stay here as long as I damn well please. I’m thinking about how much of a bitch it will be to climb/fall down this mountain, and I’m trying to stall as much as I can so I can climb down this mountain safely and not look like an out-of-shape disaster. Before I go down, I get the wonderful idea to pee off the face of the mountain, and I stand by this decision, because it was awesome. I finish my last beer, and mentally prepare myself for the return journey.

The thing about going down a mountain; it’s a little easier than I thought. As we descend, I start to get a feel for the terrain, and begin to walk a little faster. Mistake. Not even 15 seconds after adjusting my pace, I trip on a root and fall on my face. After laughing to myself about how funny that probably looked, I reassess my speed. We’re now about 3/4ths of the way down, thanks gravity. We finish up our climb and walk back to the car, where I immediately fall into my seat, exhausted and a little buzzed. I think to myself, hey, it’s better than being at work.