Liza Ketchum, Dorset VT

We hike to Dorset’s Saddle Meadows every fall, after our neighbor mows the chest-high grass. Once an active farm and orchard, the upper field used to offer dramatic views of the Adirondacks. Now trees have grown in, but the southeast view—of the Taconics, Mt. Equinox, and the Battenkill River Valley—is still spectacular. Wildlife abounds here. Indigo buntings and scarlet tanagers flash their bright colors. Monarch caterpillars lay eggs in the milkweed. One summer, a moose and her twin calves beat the brush into a circular bed. Last fall, I reached for a ripe apple near the old cellar hole and almost stepped in a fresh pile of bear scat. I’ve been climbing this mountain since I was a child, long before my family purchased the property. Now my parents are gone, but my sons hike the trail with our grandchildren. The Saddle still beckons and endures.