The End-of-Summer Bucket List
Summer started off with so much promise! There were so many places to go, people to see, and things to do. But now the leaves are starting to change color, and you still haven't finished off all your summer goals. A thin layer of dust covers the copy of Infinite Jest on your nightstand and the new hiking boots you bought in May have nary a crease or stain. Don't worry, though! Cooler days are coming, but there's still time to cram in some of the adventures that you initially sacrificed in order to plow through the new season of Arrested Development.
Go hiking or backpacking.
Hiking never really goes out of season, but trekking through the wilderness in the summer months is decidedly easier than toughing out a cold winter excursion. If you're in the market for an intense hike, check out one of America's most dangerous hiking trails or consider visiting a leg of one of the Triple Crown of Hiking trails, which includes the Pacific Crest, Appalachian, and Continental Divide trails. Just don't worry about hiking as fast as record-breaker Josh Garrett. If you're stumped, look up a national park near you.
Take a kayak or canoe for spin.
Hiking might be an evergreen activity, at least in theory, but kayaking or canoeing in the winter is considerably more intimidating. Some notable destinations for kayaking and canoeing include Arizona's Colorado River, Alaska's Glacier Bay, The Ozarks in Missouri, and The Everglades in Florida. But, again, don't let your distance from a famous location deter you from enjoying the water one final time before winter's freeze. There are plenty of suitable bodies of water throughout the country, many of which rent out kayaks or canoes on a day-by-day basis.
Enjoy an organic, tasty picnic.
What sunny summer day would be complete without delicious food? Winter is the season for hearty soups and hot chocolate, so base your summer smorgasbord on traditional picnic fare. Before you get started, make sure to review The Green Life's guide to a successful green picnic. Because meat doesn't keep well in the heat — and for our vegetarian and vegan friends — make veggies the centerpiece of your meal. Nothing says summer like fresh fruits and veggies and crisp salads. When choosing your menu, consult which foods are in season, because you don't want to miss out on your favorites before they're gone. Want to enjoy a picnic buzz, too? There are some excellent organic beers, wines, and spirits.
Stargaze in relative comfort.
Lying in the grass on a balmy September night sounds far more appealing than bundling up and making your mark in the snow. Take advantage of the few remaining summer nights and direct your attention to the sky. If you live near a city and the light pollution is too much to bear, take that road trip to a remote location before you have to deal with violent storms and blizzards. If you're new to the activity, check out our advice about equipment and techniques. Our monthly Astronomy blog will fill you in on the sky's highlights.
--Image by iStockphoto/filoEric Brown is an editorial intern at Sierra. An Eagle Scout who has hiked in Denali National Park and kayaked down the Snake River, Eric thinks the world is worth saving, even if it has given him his fair share of sunburns. In the fall, he will be a senior at Northwestern University's Medill School, where he enjoys writing about music and editing for North by Northwestern.