Several mornings this week when we walked out the door, we could feel it: with temperatures in the low 60s — rising only into the low 80s — summer’s stranglehold was loosening. It may have a full month of residency left according to the calendar (fall doesn’t officially start until Sept. 22), but fall has begun elbowing its way in. Sure, we still have some hot days remaining. But the transition has begun.
We had just crawled into our tents Friday night when the rain started: a gentle patter at first, the kind known for lulling you to sleep. Then it got down to business.
I drifted off to sleep realizing that the weekend of cavorting in the pools and cascades of Wilson Creek that we had planned might not come to pass. We’d been waiting weeks, in 90-degree-plus weather, for the chance to jump into these chill mountain pools, then sun off on the adjoining granite slabs, and repeat. Oh well, I thought, good thing we have a Plan B.
Soon — really! — it will start cooling down and our trails will become more crowded. Not the typical crowds that we expect every fall. Rather, the typical fall crowds plus the legions of folks who used to watch college football on Saturdays, but, we’re pretty sure, won’t be this fall.
We just got back from a week-long trip and it was killer. We covered 73 miles on foot, averaging 10.4 miles per day. According to my Fitbit, we climbed 369 floors, or about 53 floors a day (for perspective, that’s just a few floors shy of the Bank of America Center in Charlotte). As outdoor adventures go, it was physically challenging: that New York City can really wear you out.
Fire, when it comes to the natural world, is often associated with loss — the loss of trees, of shrubs, of grasses, of animal life. But it also plays a key role in keeping the forest alive. This year, North Carolina is celebrating that role, proclaiming it the Year of Fire in its State Parks.