Sometimes, if I’m not careful, I let the fall season pass me by. My attention turns to winter and things to do to keep active — snowshoeing, skiing and lots of spinning on my home spin bike.

This year I found myself mentally skipping past fall again, but I am now determined to put a stop to it. As I prepare my home for winter, my body and mind are going to stay grounded in the fall.

And that means hiking.

Fall hiking is actually some of the best hiking there is. The trails aren’t crowded. You don’t get overheated, which is a personal problem I have in the summer. And the views, well the views are amazing.

True, many of the leaves have done their tumble to the ground, but the nip of fall is in the air, crisp enough to keep that spring in your step.

Over the next few weeks I plan to take a hike or two or three. After 16-plus years living in the Valley, there are still a few hikes I’ve never done, starting with Castle Rock. Yep, that’s on this year’s to-do list along with revisits to Grandview Point and the Skyline Trail, and a few hikes on less famous trails in the South Shore system.

On the North Shore, perhaps it’s time to take a trek along the Pacific Crest Trail from Fawnskin to Cushenberry. And why not go on — from Cushenberry to Onyx? You don’t have to hike it all at once. Split the time into two or three hikes.

The one thing that keeps me from hiking as much as I want to is finding hiking buddies who can go the same slow pace. Hiking alone is never a good idea, and the older I get the more I want company when I’m out there in the wilderness.

While I’m still hoping for a good winter season in Big Bear, I’m fine with having a couple of more weeks of fall. So, before I dust off the snowshoes and put the cables in the trunk of the car, I’m going hiking. It’s healthy. It’s peaceful. And it’s free.

The trails beckon, and this time, I’m going to listen.

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