After work, take a hike

Sunset today is at 8:19 p.m., with lingering light until 8:48 p.m. Come June 21—the Summer Solstice, the start of summer, the “longest” day of the year—sunset is at 8:34 p.m. Daylight starts diminishing after that, but by a quirk of Earth’s orbit, the sun continues to stay up longer until June 28, when sunset is at about 8:35, with light lingering until after 9 p.m. 

That is a lot of evening daylight to play with.

This is why we’re adding more midweek, after-work hikes in our GetHiking! programs. This week, for instance, we’ve got:

  • Tuesday: 3-mile hike at Brumley Family Nature Preserve in Hillsborough.
  • Wednesday: 3-mile hike at Johnston Mill Nature Preserve in Chapel Hill.
  • Thursday: GetOriented! Finding your Way in the Woods in Greensboro.

We started doing after-work hikes three years ago, through our GetHiking! Corporate program. Every Tuesday and Thursday, workers from IQVIA, SAS, MetLife and elsewhere head to Umstead State Park for a hike of 3 to 4 miles. It’s not so much the exercise they’re after—they could get that in their corporate gyms. Rather, it’s a vital midweek fix of being outdoors and on the trail that helps them keep it together until the weekend. 

Sounds good, you say, but …

It’s hot. Summer is hot, true. The temperature typically spikes around 5 p.m., so if you’re starting at 6, the temperature is already starting to drop. Further, if you’re hiking on a wooded trail, that full canopy overhead drops the temperature by about 10 degrees. A 90-degree scorcher suddenly becomes a more manageable 80-degree hike.

It’s humid. It does tend to be … moist this time of year. We suggest putting that in your favor by wearing a cotton hiking shirt that will absorb your sweat and turn it into a valuable cooling agent against your skin.

What about rush-hour traffic? One of the reasons our Umstead hike works is because it’s within 10 minutes of the corporate participants. It would be counterproductive to try to wind down the day with a hike by revving it up battling rush hour traffic across town. So find a hike nearby. 

What if I can’t find a hike? Then what a great time to become a hike leader yourself. If you aren’t already, become ordained by your local organizer and start posting hikes near where you work. You’ll likely find fellow hikers nearby and develop new friends to hike with after work.

I don’t have the energy for a long hike after a day in the salt mine. Who says it has to be a long hike? If you start at 6 p.m. and hike 3 miles, you’ll likely be done by 7:30. Three miles is spiritually cleansing (even in the heat and humidity). And think how well you’ll sleep.

I’m hungry when I get off work. Have a snack. A PBJ or an energy bar will provide some protein to power you through and tide you over.

I’m almost there. Give me some extra incentive. Popsicles. At the end of our summer hikes, we give out Popsicles; I swear that’s why 90 percent of the people on our hikes show up.

We plan to keep an active after-work hike schedule in our Triangle and Triad GetHiking! chapters. We’d love to see more after-work hikes everywhere.

There’s still time to sign up for this week’s midweek, after-work events.

  • Wednesday: 3-mile hike at Johnston Mill Nature Preserve in Chapel Hill. Go here.
  • Thursday: GetOriented! Finding your Way in the Woods in Greensboro. Go here.

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