When you dream of a summer weekend in the dead of winter, you dream of a summer weekend like the one forecast for this Saturday and Sunday: high around 90 (in the Piedmont, at least), slight chance of thunderstorms. A weekend, in other words, made for dreamy adventure.
Today, we present our 10 favorite mountain watering holes, places where you are guaranteed to escape the death-grip of summer’s 90/90 (heat/humidity) doldrums. Some are just off the road, some you have to work for. All are worth a visit. Links for more information follow.
It’s the first official weekend of summer (it punches in/punched in at 11:54 a.m.), so let us go in search of summer like things to do. But first …
The naysayers have a way of twisting the good news of summer: It may be the start of summer, but the days start getting shorter now. Technically, yes. But only incrementally. And, in fact, official sunset continues to extend until a week from today: Tonight, official sunset is at 8:34:06 p.m., on June 28 it won’t set until 8:45:50 p.m.! (You know what that also means: if actual daylight begins to decrease, but the sun is staying up longer, then the difference must be absorbed by sunrise! The sun is getting up later — more time to sleep in.) Through July 30, the sun won’t set before 8:20, and it’s still up past 8 well into mid-August.
Why a video from last fall? Two reasons.
- We got rained out last weekend: no “Scenes from the Weekend Past” to share.
- It’s going to feel like fall this weekend! When you wake up, the temperature will likely be in the 50s; on Saturday, at least, it won’t get out of the mid-70s. A return to fall the weekend before summer official starts — can’t beat that!
Let’s see what fall-appropriate things are going on this weekend:
Mountain Nature Hike, Saturday, 5 p.m., Mount Jefferson Nature Hike, West Jefferson. You might need a fleece for this late afternoon mountain hike, in which a ranger will talk about Mount Jefferson’s unusual flora. The hike is 1.2 miles and starts from the picnic area. “Sturdy shoe” highly recommended. (This late-day hike pairs well on a cool June day with a mid-afternoon hike at nearby Elk Knob State Park, just down the road in Todd. The 2-mile Summit Trail weaves through a lush mountain forest and offers stellar views, including Mount Jefferson, from the 5,520-foot summit.) Learn more about the Mount Jefferson Nature Hike here.
So, there’s a bit of rain in the forecast this weekend, which means you just might have to strike while the sky is dry. Thus, flexibility and spontaneity may be the keys to adventure this weekend. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan …
Canoe the Scuppernong, Saturday, 9 a.m. – noon, Pettigrew State Park, Creswell (which is just down the road from Plymouth, which is east Williamston … it’s a ways out of U.S. 64). Years ago we paddled five miles on the coastal Scuppernong River, one of the most intimate paddles we can recall. A lush canopy overhead made the summer paddle less steamy, the dense vegetation crowding both banks giving the impression of a journey in the tropics. Saturday, sample a stretch of the very same Scuppernong with a park ranger on this 3-hour float. What’s provided, where to meet, what to bring, what not to wear — it’s all here.