The signs are subtle at first. You walk out in the morning and the light isn’t quite as bright; the sun seems a little … behind, like it forgot to set its alarm clock. And that after dinner walk in the evening? You’re getting closer and closer to finishing in the dark.
One day, driving, you notice a glint of orange in the trees, a sourwood, you realize after a moment, reverting to its natural color. Maybe a reaction to the stress of being along a busy roadway where the temperature is elevated. You’ve heard that can happen. Still … .
Then, one morning you step outside and — whoa! You’re on the verge of goosebumps. Not that it’s that cold, but the unexpected cool takes you by surprise. Indeed, there’s a slight chill in the air, and while the temperature is still expected to reach the mid 80s later in the day, there’s definitely a chill. Later, you check your app and learn it got down to — 59! It hasn’t been that cool since spring!
It’s too early declare victory in the war against oppressive summer heat, but the tide is definitely turning. In our minds, Labor Day weekend marks the start of fall, while on the calendar fall doesn’t officially report for duty until Sept. 22. And while we’ll still have a hot day or two in October, the swing to cooler, drier days has begun.
Consider, according to weather.gov, the average daytime high at Raleigh Durham International Airport for today, Aug. 17, is 88.5 degrees; the overnight low, 68.7. Come Labor Day, Sept. 5 this year, the average historical daytime high will have dropped to 85.3, the overnight low to 65.4. Come the first official day of fall, the average daytime high is 80.5, the overnight low 59.8. By mid-October, our daytime highs typically are in the low 70s, the temperature drops below 50 at night. Plus, the humidity drops going into fall, the chance of rain diminishes. Could there be a better time to be outside?
We don’t think so.
Which is why we’re getting ready to celebrate fall big time.
A full lineup of our fall hikes and trips can be found here. But here’s a snapshot of what we’re up to:
Fall Weekend Escapes
Black Mountain Crest Trail, Oct. 15-17. The anchor hike of this three-hike weekend is a trek from the north end of the Black Mountain Crest Trail, at Bowlen Creek, to Celo Knob. It’s an awesome transition from a mature Southern Appalachian hardwood forest to a boreal forest of balsam and fir. Check it out here.
Appalachian Trail at Hot Springs, Nov. 12-14. Late Fall is a magical time: autumnal color lingers, the hordes who come to see it do not. We celebrate with two hikes on the AT in Hot Springs, one originating at Garenflo Gap and ending in town, the other from Tanyard Gap into town. Both hikes trend downhill. Check it out here.
Tuesday Night Hikes, Sept. 21 – Nov. 23. We love the night hike, and starting Sept. 21 we will revive our annual night hike series with 10 weekly hikes, each starting at 6:30 p.m. on a different Triangle area trail. Each hike is around 3 miles in length. Check it out here.
Friday Morning Hikes, Sept. 10 – Oct. 29. Can you be both a night owl (see Tuesday Night Hikes) and a morning person? Yup, especially on Friday, mainly because who wants to wait until Saturday to launch their weekend? Eight weekly Friday morning hikes beginning at 7:30 and ending around 9. Check ‘em out here.
Sunday Afternoon Hike Series, Sept. 5 – Nov. 21. Fall Sunday afternoons were made for hiking: the temperatures are cooling, the air is drier, the sky more brilliant and, oh, the fall color! If you love the idea of fall hiking but have trouble motivating yourself to get out every week, this is the answer. Check it out here.
GetOriented! Finding Your Way in the Woods. In this three-hour class we spend 20 minutes going over how to use a compass and how to read a map, then head down the trail and off to discover how the compass, the map and reality all align. Three fall sessions are scheduled:
- Sunday, Aug. 22, Umstead State Park
- Saturday, Sept. 18, Eno River State Park
- Saturday, Oct. 9, Umstead State Park
See why we’re so excited about the fall? Hope you are now, too!