Traditionally in hiking circles (my hiking circle, at least), Labor Day marks the end of summer and the start of the fall hiking season. It may technically still be summer (fall doesn’t officially arrive until 5:05 a.m. on September 23) and the temperatures may not typically drop noticeably (though they will this week) but in our minds, it’s fall. School is in, football has started — lace up the Vasques and let’s go.
Dogs are distracted by squirrels, cats by mice, men in midlife crisis by red sports cars they can barely fit into. Me? A cloudless sky and 70-degree temperatures.
For most of this past week, I managed to avoid the temptation to leap from my desk and run out into the woods chasing after fall. After the changing colors, the curious quiet, the long shadows knifing across the forest floor. But by Thursday afternoon my discipline was shot. I looked out the window, saw another leaf fall and grabbed my day pack and was off. Off to my favorite place to greet fall in the Triangle: the Eno River.