We’ve reached late fall, the transition between glorious fall hiking and winter, a period many see as a three-month hiatus from the trail. Why? Well, we know not why: for us, it has become our favorite season to be on the trail. It’s a topic we’ve waxed on at length; here, for instance.
On Sunday, we turn our clocks back one hour as we leave Daylight Saving Time. That means we will no longer have the extra hour of end-of-day sunlight we’ve enjoyed since March 12. On Saturday, sunset in the Raleigh area is at 6:17:55 p.m.; on Sunday, when we switch back to Standard Time, it’s at 5:16:59 p.m. Poof! Just like that.
I remember where I was on the very first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970: Standing mid-thigh in central Pennsylvania’s Buffalo Creek, ostensibly taking measurements of stream flow but instead watching the very expensive stream-flow measuring device break its cable and disappear quickly downstream. I remember this more than a half century later because our usually mild-mannered science teacher, Mr. Morris, became wildly animated as he told just how expensive the device, which he’d borrowed, was.
The following post first appeared in November 2019 following a particularly crowded and frustrating hike at popular — especially in fall — Umstead State Park. We rerun it again because the trails have become even more crowded since then and the message even more appropriate.
The following first ran in October 2018. It appears here with tweaks and updates.
It was a late November night in the late 1990s and Alan and I were hiking a stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake. Though we’d been mountain biking at night for two or three years, the notion of hiking in the dark had only recently occurred to us. Making our way through the woods in the quiet of night made us a bit giddy; instead of two guys in their late 40s, we were like a couple of 10-year-olds who’d snuck out of our bedroom windows on a clandestine adventure.