Every year at this time, we get a gift: an extra hour of after-work daylight.
This time next week, after Daylight Saving Time kicks in on Sunday, the sun will set at 7:21 p.m. By month’s end, it will set at 7:36 p.m. That extra afternoon sunshine, friends, opens our evening outdoor opportunities.
On Sunday, we’ll turn our clocks back one hour as we leave Daylight Saving Time. That means we will no longer have the extra hour of sunlight we’ve enjoyed at day’s end since March 11. On Saturday, sunset in the Raleigh area is at 6:16:44 p.m.; on Sunday, when we switch back to Standard Time, it’s at 5:15:46 p.m. Poof! Just like that.
Here are a few things to keep in mind with the time change:
- We have an hour more daylight in the morning. The extra hour is nice if you like to get in a morning run, ride or walk before work. On Saturday, sunrise is at 7:39:30 a.m.; Sunday, it’s 6:40:31 a.m.
- Plan your afternoon adventures accordingly. It’s easy to keep thinking, “Ahh, I’ll be done by 6.” But if you’re done at 6 p.m. on Sunday, the sun already set 45 minutes earlier and you’ll be 20 minutes past twilight. It will be dark. Better bring a headlamp.
- Don’t despair: it won’t last long. We will only lose another 15 minutes of afternoon sunlight before the tide turns. Though overall daylight keeps diminishing until Dec. 21, the first day of winter, we actually start regaining afternoon sun on Dec. 6. In fact, by the time December is over we will have gained back 10 minutes of afternoon sunlight.
- Don’t be afraid of the dark. We love going out at night, especially with the aid of today’s versatile and lightweight headlamps. Every other Tuesday from Nov. 20 through March 5, we’ll be doing a night hike that starts at 7 p.m. We’ll hike different spots around the Triangle, exposing you to some great night hike options. We’ve got loaner headlamps. And, this being GetHiking!, there’s no chance of getting dropped; we lead our hikes from the rear, so nobody gets left in the dark. It’s a great way to get on the trail during winter.
- You can put that time to good use. After the holiday hubbub settles, we’ll be doing weeknight seminars on a variety of hiking and backpacking topics. This is an excellent time to start planning what to do when the sunshine returns. Watch for details in early December.
- March 10 is only 140 days away. March 10, at 2 a.m. — that’s when Daylight Saving Time returns.
Come explore with us on the dark side!
Explore the night
Sunday, one of the kids asked how Daylight Saving Time
came to be (a disgruntled kid, I should add, since she’d be waking for school an hour earlier the next morning). I spared her my discourse on a subject I’m peculiarly fascinated by and gave her the short version: Several countries adopted it in World War I as a way to save coal for the war effort. Most dropped it following the war, resumed it for WWII, then, to a large extent, stuck with it.
That’s the short version of the real story. What I wanted to say was: Daylight Saving Time was conceived so we’d have more time to play in the evening. The advent of Daylight Saving Time opens a world of recreational opportunities after work. Consider: Just two weeks ago, the sun set at 6:09 p.m. in Raleigh. Today, thanks to DST, the sun will set at 7:22 p.m. And civil twilight, more-or-less the point at which sunlight completely fades, isn’t until 7:47 p.m.; if you’ve got good eyes you can eek out nearly another half hour of fun.
Some thoughts on how you can put this new-found daylight to work.
Ride a bike
Explore the outdoors, discover yourself.