Autumn is also, however, a time of change, where unforeseen circumstances may occur and, if we are out and about on a walk, we should be fully prepared with the right gear.
Walking in autumn means enjoying the silence and having the place to yourself, though there are a few hacks you should respect to make your experience a fully enjoyable one. You should bear in mind that the temperatures can vary within a few days, getting colder with strong northerly winds. At the same time, it can get warmer again, with a toing and froing which asks only for us to be fully prepared.
Never underestimate the hours of daylight, as dusk can turn to complete darkness in a matter of minutes, so always remember to carry a head torch with you.
Carefully scrutinise the weather forecast. A warm day before the week-end does not necessarily mean that we’ll be walking donning our t-shirt only. The evolution of temperatures means that we may have a frosty start – especially in the mountains – followed by a warm day. As you would do in the summer, always wear several layers with you, including gloves and a hat, even though you may think they are not necessary.
Technical t-shirts are still good – avoid cotton like the plague, as is often repeated in this newsletter! – but make sure you bring some waterproof layers, such as a light jacket, which you’ll be wearing over a thin fleece (base layer) or, if it gets really cold, a thicker one (medium layer).
The shoes you’ll be wearing will have to be rather sturdy and high up to your ankles, so it’s better to leave your trail running shoes behind. As the paths tend to be more unstable with fallen rocks and ice, you’ll need more support.
Although it is not snow time yet, you may still incur in some snow in some north-exposed parts of your path. It may be good to carry some mini crampons which you’ll simply attach to your approach or walking shoes (we are not talking about the 12-point C2 crampons here). Remember that they work wonders on icy paths, too, and for this reason they are part of the compulsory gear required by trail running athletes taking part in races in the mountains!
You may of course simply ring a hut to ask for the local conditions, in case it snowed a few weeks prior to your visit and you are unsure as to what you’ll find. If the hut is already closed – most do close around the end of September – please call the local tourist information. They will have all the latest updated information and will assist you in making the right choice.
Although the sun may not be as strong as in July or August, make sure you always protect your eyes with quality sunglasses. A category 3 is enough – unless you go to a glacier. Ask the optician for the right frame which fully protects your eyes.
Last but not least, do not forget a camera. Although you may not be a photography lover, you will surely be struck by the magical atmosphere of autumn in the mountains. Go out and explore, you will be rewarded by the enchanting display nature will offer you.
South Tyrol and its captivating autumn colours is waiting for you!