Category Archives: Weather

‘Miserable’? Depends upon your perspective

Two days ago, the weekend forecast for across the land (“the land” being North Carolina) called for mostly sunny skies and highs in the low 70s. Perfect weather for just about every outdoor pursuit.
Today, the word “miserable” is in the forecast for Saturday. ( “ … We should have a miserable day with wind and rain playing a prominent role in the forecast. .. .”
It’s a meteorologist’s prerogative, I reckon.
New forecast in hand, we have two thoughts.
One, a little rain — and a little wind and below-normal temperatures — shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the outdoors in some fashion. I’ve long been a fan of hiking in the rain, an intimate experience with a shot of adrenaline if you hike along a normally placid creek infused with an inch or two of rain. You simply have to go prepared. You can do that in one of two ways. If you’re an avid hiker, it’s worth your while to spring for good rain gear. (A jacket we’re particularly covetous of is the Patagonia Super Cell.)  Or, for as little as 99 cents you can buy a surprisingly effective poncho.
For more on the topic, check out this post from 2012.
Two, if it simply is too miserable for your sensibilities, this weekend could be a good opportunity to check out your neighborhood climbing gym; a list of which you will find here.  Never been climbing but intrigued? Here’s a post on the intro to climbing class offered by the Triangle Rock Club.
So, “miserable”?
The forecasting, maybe. But not the prospects for weekend fun. read more

90 Second Escape: Southern Snowy Trails

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb. read more

Weekend update: a revised plan

Morrow Mountain in snow (an earlier snow, not this one). Photo courtesy North Carolina State Parks

Here’s the weekend dilemma: you want to get out and experience the snow, but will you be able to get there? And once you get there, can you even get in?

If your destination is Mount Mitchell State Park, the Shining Rock/Middle Prong wilderness areas, or anywhere else along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the answer to the first question is probably not. The entire Parkway, all 469 miles, is essentially closed, mostly due to snow and ice, in parts because of construction. (For the latest BRP status, go here.) read more

Most N.C. State Parks closed; message delivered

If you’ve got a snow day and were wondering, most of North Carolina’s state parks are closed today. A moot point, since you probably can’t get out of your driveway, let alone off your street.

Go to nearly every site for each of the parks. at and, for the most part, you’ll be greeted by a message such as this one for Umstead State Park: read more

The cold facts

It’s cold: waking up to 9 degree temperature is cold in anyone’s book, no matter how cold-blooded you are, no matter where you live.

But how cold is it? And how does that cold affect us when we venture out?
Understanding what’s going on when your exercising body interacts with the cold is key to figuring out how to deal with frigid conditions. Proper preparation for the cold and being able to read the signs of how your body is reacting can mean the difference between a day of exploring in the winter woods or Netflix. As is the case with so many matters concerning the active outdoor life, a great source of information is Princeton University’s Outdoor Action website. And in the case of matters concerning the cold, their comprehensive “Outdoor Action Guide to Hypothermia and Cold Weather Injuries.”
“Traveling in cold weather conditions can be life threatening,” writes Rick Curtis, who heads the outdoor program at Princeton. “The information provided here is designed for educational use only and is not a substitute for specific training or experience.”
Disclaimer obediently noted, here’s a very quick primer on hypothermia:
Can initially be tipped off by signs of the “umbles — stumbles, mumbles, fumbles, and grumbles which show changes in motor coordination and levels of consciousness.”
Involuntary shivering is a sign of mild hypothermia, slurred speech a sign of moderate hypothermia, dilated pupils is a sign of severe hypothermia, erratic and very shallow breathing is a sign of, well, you don’t want to reach that point.
To deal with the onset of hypothermia you should reduce heat loss by adding clothes, switching to dry clothes if your clothes are wet, move, seek shelter; eat and drink; find heat, through a fire, for instance, or direct body contact.
Learn more about hypothermia as well as vasodilation, vasoconstriction, the pathophysiology of tissue freezing and a whole lot more by visiting the “Outdoor Action Guide to Hypothermia and Cold Weather Injuries.” read more