A little confession: this week’s video isn’t from this past week. It’s from a year ago, almost to the day. We share it again because it reflects the weather pattern from a year ago: rain during the week, then three days of sunshine and cold overnight temps. The perfect formula for letting loose the kind of color we hope to find in the woods on a fall weekend. The kind of color we expect you’ll find on this fall weekend. That said, some thoughts on how to best enjoy color on the weekend ahead …
OK, so perhaps summer is overstaying its welcome. It’s still dry out, which means you have at least one more weekend to get out and savor the warm weather. Remember, in another couple months, you’ll be pining for its return.
National Public Lands Day, Saturday, nationwide. Saturday is National Public Lands Day, “the largest single-day volunteer effort for America’s public lands.” Related events are planned at five North Carolina State Parks (Crowders Mountain, Pilot Mountain, Lake Norman, Grandfather Mountain, Morrow Mountain); you can find specifics here. You can find additional events in the state by going to the National Environmental Education Foundation web site and clicking here.
We take a slightly different approach this week, inspired by what seems to be a greater-than-usual offering of intriguing critter programs this weekend in our state parks system. Today, we simply list the program title, the park hosting it, when it is, and a link. You have no reason not to learn a thing or two this weekend.
It’s been cool most of the week throughout our blogging area, and it will be cool again at least on Saturday, making this the perfect summer weekend to get in a hike.
Mount Jefferson Downhill Skateboarding Event, Saturday and Sunday, starts at 9 a.m. both days, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. Scratching your head, are you? Here’s the deal: The 1.6-mile road to the summit of 4,683-foot Mount Jefferson will be closed to vehicles both days to accommodate the mountain’s annual downhill skateboard race. Yup, youngsters on skateboards — more than 100 of ‘em — will skateboard down the mountain, dropping more than 700 vertical feet along the way. However, there will be shuttle service to the top of the mountain: park at the Lowe’s in West Jefferson and take a shuttle to the top, where you can hike the park’s 5 miles of trail. And you can check out the race as well. (FYI, one of the sponsors for the race, the Ian Tilmann Foundation, will be giving helmets to the first 100 kids who sign a pledge to wear a helmet while skateboarding.) Learn more about the race here and hiking at Mount Jefferson here.
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.