Things to do outdoors this fall

1. Pick up a football with family and friends or join a pickup game at the park. Autumn football is an American tradition alongside apple pies, Thanksgiving turkeys and jack-o-lanterns. Do something fun and active with those you love right outside the living room door.

2. Football is fun, but mountain biking is extreme. Pick a nature trail near your house and spend a day riding through beautiful cascades of orange, yellow and brown. Climb mountains to look over the summits and experience the breathtaking power of the entire countryside in seasonal transition or casually stroll through the winding paths alongside babbling brooks to absorb the delicate serenity of the sleeping forest.

3. Spend an afternoon raking all the leaves around the house and then jump onto the large pile from a height. Every self-respecting person, whether child or adult, should do this at least once every fall season.

4. Go to a game. Whether it be a football, soccer, baseball, softball or volleyball game or a cross country race, stand out in the cold with body paint and a thermos of hot cider and cheer for the home team. Fall is really all about spending time with family and watching sports.

5. Buy a pumpkin and carve it. Make sure to do it outside on the ground over newspapers to limit the mess. Remove the seeds, wash them, cover them with salt and toast them. Take the leftover pulp and bake pumpkin pie from scratch.

6. Make a bonfire outside and toast marshmallows. Sit down with the family around the fire pit, tell stories or eat dessert. Remember safety first, so don’t stack fires too high or place them near trees or the house, and do not burn any material other than natural wood.

7. Lay out the charcoal and start a barbecue. This is the sort of event the whole neighborhood can get involved in. Grill burgers, steak, ribs, hot dogs, corn and potatoes while partaking in sports or engaging discussion around the bonfire. A barbecue is the best and cheapest way to reconnect with friends and relatives.

8. Go camping with a friend or a small group of people. Decide whether or not to drive-in camp or go backpacking on trails. Bring fishing rods or hunting rifles to try your luck at catching your own meal. Bring plenty of clean water to heat over the fire and powdered Ovaltine to make hot chocolate, this is key. Remember to plan responsibly, act responsibly and not get lost. Be aware that some parks charge a fee for camping or prohibit game fishing and hunting.

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