Plenty to do outside in less than perfect weather


It’s getting to be that time again. 

Time to put away the t-shirts, sunblock and flip flops in exchange for sweatshirts and jackets. Freezing temperatures are right around the corner, but the fall season can bring beautiful weather to this part of the country.

Sophomore Macy Murren said this is one of her favorite times of the year.

“Fall can be great weather, and there are lots of fun activities to enjoy outdoors,” Murren said.

Although South Dakota’s popular pheasant hunting season opened this past weekend, and other hunting opportunities exist as the fall progresses, there are plenty of other ways to get outside and pass the time. 

Regardless of the activity, though, the weather won’t always be perfect.

As we dive deeper into fall, there are a few things we know for sure. Will it be cold? Yep. Will it be windy? You betcha. Come on, we live in South Dakota. One minute the weather will be nice, the next, it might be downright brutal.

It can sometimes be a daily battle against the weather, but living in the Upper Midwest, we have learned to adapt to cold temperatures and make the most out of this time of year.

Fall can be one of the best times to get outside for a hike, whether it’s just a walk around Brookings or a trek outside of city limits. Spending time away from the house and connecting with nature is important, and exploring the natural world around us can be very rewarding.

When the weather cools, there’s no need to give up on outdoor sporting activities for the year. Getting outside to play a game of football, a round of disc golf or riding a bike can be just what you need to take a break from studying and improve your focus.

Additionally, as we near the end of October, Halloween is only a short time away. There’s no better way to celebrate the holiday than by visiting a corn maze or stopping at a pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin to carve. Sanderson Gardens, which is just east of Brookings along Highway 14, has a great pumpkin patch open to the public.

Caitlin Oeltjenbruns, sophomore agriculture education major, explains why fall is her favorite time of the year.

“I really enjoy carving pumpkins,” Oeltjenbruns said. “It’s a great way to show my creative side, and eating the cooked seeds are an added bonus.”

Another option to spending time on frozen water is ice fishing, which is a favorite activity among many SDSU students. You don’t have to travel far to experience good fishing, as there are ponds within Brookings that provide excellent opportunities for a quick ice fishing outing.

“Ice fishing gives me a time away from school to relax, and it’s a great way to go out and try a different style of fishing,” Murren said.

As the temperatures drop, don’t count snow out of the forecast.

According to the National Weather Service, Sioux Falls received more than 11 inches of snow over a two-day period during the end of October in 1991, and measurable amounts of snow have been recorded much earlier other years. 

If snow is in the forecast, get outside and build a snowman. Have a snowball fight with some friends or break out the cross country skis and head to a local trail. 

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the snow, right?

In order to maximize your time outdoors when it’s cold, warm clothing is needed. 

First and foremost, start with an insulating base layer before sweatshirts and jackets. These base layers are comfortable, breathable and warm enough to help maintain body heat and keep you outside longer.

A good pair of mittens or gloves are a must during the upcoming months so your fingers don’t go numb. Also, wearing wool socks paired with insulated boots will keep your feet from turning into blocks of ice. 

“Although the fall has much cooler temperatures, it’s still warm enough to do outdoor activities,” Oeltjenbruns said. “I like that I can wear my UGG boots without freezing my feet.” 

After a long day out in the cold, a nice warm beverage is essential. It’s definitely something to look forward to after a day in the elements. 

“Nothing beats drinking minty hot chocolate or a cup of coffee after spending time in the cold,” Murren said.

Although hot, sun-filled days are gone until next summer, the time we spend outdoors doesn’t have to be. 

There’s still plenty of activities out there, so get outside, dress warm and enjoy the fall weather.