Our two favorite times to be in the trail in winter: sunrise and sunset. They’re great year-round, frankly, but much more accessible in winter: Sunrise today is at 7:21 a.m., sunset at 5:34 p.m.
If you have to ask what’s so special about these two golden hours of the day, then you’re probably not a hiker. Or possibly in possession of a pulse. Personally, we love the moment-to-moment change as the sky evolves from yellow to pink to orange to crimson to purple. If we sense the conditions for a good sunset, we’ll dash to the local summit in town, Occoneechee Mountain, which affords an open view to the west: sunset over the Eno River Valley is one of the best. We’re pretty crazy about certain other sunsets as well: from Shortoff Mountain at the south end of Linville Gorge, from atop Shining Rock in the Pisgah National Forest, from Little Long Mountain in the Uwharrie National Forest, from Hump Mountain on the Appalachian Trail. We’ve even seen the queen mother of sunset phenomena: the elusive green flash, a prismatic neon burst that lasts just a second or two, which we saw over the Pacific Ocean years ago in Hawaii.read more
We’ve got another gift-of-fall weekend coming up. There might be some rain Sunday, but at this point Saturday looks ideal, with lots of sun and temperatures in the upper 50s to upper 60s. So many ways to take advantage of weather like this, weather that won’t be around a lot longer. And as today’s video shows, there’s finally good color moving into the Piedmont.read more
We’ve encountered our first 90-degree days on the trail. We’ve also encountered our first signs of heat exhaustion (on a sweaty trip deep into Linville Gorge this past weekend).
Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke which can damage the brain and other organs and can lead to death. Fortunately, if you recognize and treat heat exhaustion at the outset you can keep it from devolving into something much more serious. read more
Temperatures in the 70s, mostly sunny skies — sounds like a weekend to get out and explore in the GetOut! universe. Some options for your adventure consideration:
High 5 @ Hanging Rock, Saturday, beginning at 7 a.m., Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. Our friends with the Friends of Sauratown Mountains do a great job supporting both Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock state parks, the west and east endpoints, respectively, of the Sauratown Mountain range. They support the parks in a variety of ways, one of which is by funding some of the smaller park projects that might not otherwise get done. Where do they get their money? you ask. From events like High 5 @ Hanging Rock. The goal of High 5 is to hike all 5 of Hanging Rock’s key high points: Moore’s Knob, Cooks Wall, Hanging Rock, Wolf Rock and House Rock. Complete the circuit and get a patch! There are two rest stops along the route, foot trucks at the finish (get a $5 food truck voucher upon registration). Cost is $40, which, again, will largely go to benefit the parks. Learn more and sign up here.read more
Sunny with highs in the 70s on Saturday, not quite as promising on Sunday, but we’ll see. Sounds like a decent weekend forecast for enjoying the outdoors in any number of ways.
Here are a few:
Spring Hike, Saturday, 1 p.m. Pettigrew State Park, Creswell. Pettigrew State Park, Pettigrew State Park … . We can hear the gears of confusion now. If you haven’t heard of Pettigrew, it’s likely because of its off-the-beaten-path location: it’s south of Creswell, which is west of Columbia, but east of Plymouth, which is just beyond Williamston, which — well, you get the idea. In short, it’s a bulb of land that’s between Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, and it’s got some of the oldest and biggest trees in the state, which you’ll be able to see on this flat-and-easy 5.6-mile hike. Learn more here.read more