Ramblings of an Editor

I Love Fall


Fall has arrived! I can’t help it… I love Fall. I love everything about it. It’s a time to slow down, cool down, and soak it all in. It’s a time to wake up to cool, crisp air, don on a sweater, and heat up the apple cider. It’s a time to reflect on the busyness of the Summer and take in the slower days. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year.

(Alanna Sommer riding in Fort Robinson, Nebraska - Sam Ketchersid took the photo)


Don’t get me wrong – I love Summer too. But I really love cooler weather. I could live in 50-60° weather year-round. I’d be happy. And I love fall flowers and the changing of the leaves. I even love the first snow. Maybe even the second and third! But after that, I’m over it. I’d be happy with fall – all year round.

(Annette Horton Beeler riding in Whetstone near Walhalla, South Carolina)


I enjoy taking time to just slow down and enjoy the days as they shorten to make sure I soak in as much sun as possible before the early evenings settle in. That’s why I love to ride as much as possible in the Fall. And I love to see everyone else’s fall ride photos from around the country too!

(Ashley Anderson riding in Brushy Creek, Iowa – photo was taken by Meganne Wheeler)


It’s always neat to see so many photos with varying shades of fading greens and yellows, to bold and bright oranges and reds. Not everyone likes the changing of the seasons, but I think it’s good for everyone to go through them. It makes you appreciate different seasons all the more.

(Barbie Post taking a dip in Salt Fork Lake in Cambridge, Ohio)


The cold seasons make us appreciate the hot seasons and the hot seasons make us appreciate the cooler ones… just like in life; We can be hot with the busyness and stresses of life and the next season is cool and calm.


Those highs and lows balance us out somewhere in between if we let it.

(Becki Jackson riding at the North Fork River Ranch in West Plains, Missouri - Vickie Caffey took the photo)


It’s just like riding – it’s so fun to take a horse on a hot day and splash in a river or lake! But when the cooler weather comes, there’s something special about riding a horse through a leaf-covered trail, hearing the wind rustle through the trees, and see golden leaves fall to the ground.

(Carter Taylor riding Snicker at Three Fires State Park in Bedford, Iowa – Photo by Erin Taylor)


In the summer it’s fun to have the kids out of school to be able to make summer memories for weeks on end. But when fall comes you learn to treasure those moments even more in between their busy school schedules. I don’t think there’s any better way to raise kids! I mean, just look at this little guy on his trusty steed! There’s nothing cuter.

(Christine Dean riding in Uncompahgre National Forest in Ouray, Colorado – Photo taken by William Dean)


And to ride high up in the mountains on a fall day!? There might not be anything better in my book. Layered-up, camera’d-up, and ready to take beautiful fall photos! If you’ve never smelled the mountain air on a cool fall day you’re missing out. You need to add it to your bucket list! (Or, as we say here at HTCAA, your Water Trough List!) There truly isn’t another scent like it in the world. It will fill your lungs and light up your heart in one breath.

(Cindy Kessler riding at Falling Water Horse Camp, Arkansas)


Another favorite fall moment (and smell) is back at camp… coming in from a long ride, getting your horse settled, and getting that campfire going before the cold night creeps in. And smelling a stew, or better yet, a peach cobbler, cooking in the cast iron over a hotbed of coals… or maybe some tasty Steak Tacos cooking over an Otzi Grill! Now I’m hungry…

(Cody Province & Jolene Hassell riding in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana)


Have you ever felt chilly water run over your hands on a fall day? Sending chills through your body, your horse takes a drink and then inhales the crisp air, listening to leaves shaking together in the wind. They might also hear the geese overhead, gathering and heading south. Or maybe a crow calling in the autumn weather.

(Crystal Gonzalez Clinton Lake Lawrence, Arkansas – Photo taken by Tom Anderson)


Now, some might think I’m crazy, but I love wearing layers. I love thick, soft socks tucked in my boots; a warm long-sleeved shirt, and maybe a jacket or vest for the chilly mornings and cool evenings. And I love the feel of a horse’s coat that is starting to thicken with the shorter days… like a fluffy blanket, you can run your hands through it and feel the warmth from underneath. I truly love fall.

(Deborah Ramirez on Buckwheat on the Long Trail in Tres Piedras, New-Mexico – Patt French took the photo)


No sir, there’s nothing better in my book than riding in the fall. Whether it’s in high country or low – it’s all good. And I think most horses agree. They walk faster and have a pep in their step that isn’t there during the hot summer days. It makes for fun trails with your buddies (the 2- and 4-legged kind!).

(Photo taken and submitted by Dyan Paquette in Alpine, Arizona)


On a cool fall day, you feel like you can ride for hours on end. Your horse doesn’t tire as fast, you don’t get overly hot; and the scenery never gets old, as you watch the slow-motion grand finale of the season change right before your eyes.


(George LaRoe riding in Moab, Utah)


And I think fall mornings are the best! It may partly be because I’m not an early riser (I wish I was!) so I don’t have to rise quite as early to catch a beautiful sunrise (haha)… But feeling those sun rays warm up the chilly air, oftentimes sparking a morning fog or haze that adds a magical touch to an already pretty setting, it’s magical.

(Eugene Mathes at Yellowstone National Park, Fawn Creek Trail – Photo by Melissa-Mathes)


Nope, there’s just nothing better… exploring the trails, feeling the chill in the air, chatting with friends, or just being alone to think as you watch the colors changing before your eyes. There’s nothing better.


Well, I guess if I really think about it… there’s nothing better than being on a trail any time of the year! But, for me, there’s just an added touch of exhilaration in the fall. And this whole magazine reminds me of that. I hope you enjoy all the fall photos and trail stories mixed in. I know it has me itching to get out on the trail (and make those street tacos)!


If you get out on the trails this fall, be sure to share them back with HTCAA! You may just end up in 2022’s October Issue!



Blessed Trails,

Shannon Schraufnagel

Founder of HTCAA
Editor-in-Chief of The Trail Journal
844-744-8222 Ext. 700


Shannon Schraufnagel is the Founder & President of HTCAA | Horse Trails & Camping Across America and the Editor-in-Chief of The Trail Journal. She grew up in Wisconsin, riding and showing American Quarter Horses in 4-H and open shows, as well as breed shows. When she started trail riding and camping with her best friend Jason, she fell in love with it - and her friend. They married in 2004 and in 2012 she created a Facebook group for trail riders just "for fun", which has now become the #1 Trail Riding Resource in the Country & Largest Trail Riding Community in America! She loves her HTCAA Members, her husband, and all her critters. She enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and of course trail riding in God's creation. Shannon will tell you she is greatly and wonderfully blessed - and doesn't deserve an ounce of it. She and her husband live in Wyoming.

Would you like to see your Business HERE?
Contact us today! 844-744-8222