We know: officially, summer has 19 days left. And while it doesn’t officially cede to fall until Sept. 22, in our hearts, today’s the day Summer spiritually hands off its sweaty baton to fall. It’s the traditional transition that we associate with the start of school, with football, and with cooler weather and drier days that lures us back to the trail.
Fall is our favorite time of year to go backpacking: temperatures are cooling, the forest is alit in color, the air is dry, the chance of rain is greatly diminished. It’s a great time to be on the trail — and to stay on the trail.
That’s one of the many joys of backpacking: once you’re on the trail, you don’t have to leave. Stay a night, or two or three.
We’ve got a lot going on this fall, for hikers, campers and backpackers.
You love a mountain hike in the fall. What you don’t love is driving there and back in a day. Or paying leaf season rates for a motel. So don’t.
This fall, we’ve got four weekend camping/hiking trips planned to some of the best hiking in the mountains, and one late fall trip to some pretty cool hiking at the coast.
You learn a lot while backpacking, especially about yourself. I’m pretty sure the nine backpackers I spent this past weekend with in Linville Gorge know a lot more about themselves today than they did before our trip.
The weekend trip was an Intermediate Skills trip, meaning participants needed some backcountry experience, though not necessarily in a wilderness. It was targeted to people eager to expand their skills and push their comfort level. And that they did.
As part of my Monday morning ritual, I check the weather forecast for the hikes, trips and classes we have in the week ahead. It may be the most frustrating thing I do all week. What I have discovered, though, is there’s a whole lot more to deciding whether to proceed or pull the plug than simply checking the chance of bad weather.