Summer is lingering in Socorro, with bright sunny afternoons, but the days have started dragging their feet. My evening walks are getting earlier to keep up with the light and I’m tempted to put on my pajamas by 8 p.m.

Fall officially started last week on the autumn equinox (apparently the moment when the sun “crosses the celestial equator in a southerly direction” and both the southern and northern hemisphere get the same amount of sunshine. I googled it. I know nothing about equinoxes).

I’m reluctant to let go of summer. It’s such a season of excitement! Hot days, cool nights, thunderstorms, fireworks, s’mores. Who could begrudge a little extra helping of summer? I am sad to see it fade, so I’m trying to get psyched up for fall.

Last week my bestie Esther and I walked through the Bosque and contemplated the passing of the seasons. She is so ready for fall! The fall season fits her color palette. When I say Esther wears earth tones, I mean EVERYTHING she wears is an earth tone.

She was happy to point me to fall’s perks, and there are some good perks. Fall festivals, crunchy leaves, a little nip in the morning air and cool breezes at dusk. Kids are back in school—probably much to the relief of their parents. The college students are back at Tech, which I think has brought some new energy and excitement to my grocery store trips. More people, and new people, in a small town is always exciting.

I am excited to pull out the fuzzy sweaters and scarves and beanies. But, let’s be honest, it’s central New Mexico, it may be winter before I’m ready to wear a heavy knit scarf.

One fall perk: the hiking weather is pleasant right now. Hot, but not horrendously hot.

Esther and I took the new-ish trail in Box Canyon the other week—built with the help of lots of Socorro volunteers in the early summer/late spring.

Esther was underprepared, with sandals and one water bottle, and I was overprepared with enough beef jerky for six people and a large knife. The knife happens to live in the hiking backpack and to be honest, I forgot it was in there until we were out on the trail and I was looking for the beef jerky.

It’s important to have an adventure buddy because they get excited about things you might pay no attention to. Esther was thrilled by all the ripe prickly pears, their purple skin taut. She found a promising candidate and dusted it off, then bit into it to break the skin. She peeled back a thin layer to reveal the bright purple innards, chock full of seeds.

I had never tried prickly pear before, and it did not disappoint.

Esther was tempted to gather a selection to make jam, but the sun was getting higher, we were sweating and there was a long way to walk back to the car. Prickly pear jam will have to be an adventure for another day.