Part of the beauty of being an outdoors person living in a four-season town is you’re always ending one season and preparing for the next, and November is a prime example of that. You never really know what you’re going to get. You could be hiking or mountain biking in the Foothills in a T-shirt or carving the first powder turns of the ski season at Bogus Basin or another Idaho ski resort.
It’s ‘tween season when the weather can take wild swings from day to day, or by location. November temperatures may be pretty mild in the Treasure Valley weather bubble, but go up in elevation, and things are likely to get colder, wetter and less predictable.
November is a transitional time for me, as well as a continuation. Hunting season starts for me in September, peaks in October, and then rolls through winter with waterfowl hunting. Fishing season is still open, too, and fall and winter are my favorite seasons to grab my fly rod and head to the Boise River in search of its elusive trout.
But it’s also time to take inventory of my outdoor gear, either cleaning it up after the sunny seasons are past, or getting my winter gear lined up for the coming months. Sometimes these things seem like chores, but there’s also a sense of satisfaction that I am keeping my equipment—more than I care to admit—in good working order. It treats me well, and to keep that going, I must do my part.
One thing I look forward to in November is cleaning and maintaining my mountain bike. It gets a lot of miles, and there are a lot of moving parts on a full-suspension mountain bike. Replacement parts can often be found at a discount, and bike shops are less busy with repairs. If you’re looking for a deal on bike parts, or even a new bike, it’s a good time to find them.
I also go through my fishing gear and see what needs to be replaced. It gives me a good excuse to tie some flies, which I am notoriously slow to do. My friends tie them by the dozens, but I am lucky to produce a handful in an evening. Maybe that’s because I am daydreaming about what I might catch with them. I don’t know if I’ve ever saved money by tying my own flies, but it gives me the extra satisfaction of fooling a fish with a fly that I created.
I also reload rounds for my rifles so I have a decent supply of them. It’s another opportunity to be involved with my favorite sports when I’m stuck indoors. But if it sounds like I am holed up inside until warmer weather, that’s definitely not the case.
As the trees change from gold, orange and crimson to stark bare branches, and the hint of morning frost turns to a glaze of ice, and Shafter Butte and the Owyhee mountains sport their first blankets of fresh snow, I get excited. I look forward to the Arctic blasts of winter storms, frigid morning air and afternoon sun that’s lost its heating element.
I giggle like a kid as the first flakes flutter from the sky and look forward to bulking up in winter layers and hiking old logging roads on snowshoes, or strapping on my snowboard and feeling that effortless glide down a mountain.
Living in a four-season place means every season that passes produces wistful memories and giddy anticipation about what comes next, and I want to enjoy it all.