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.
On Tuesday evening’s hike, I overheard a new hiker ask a veteran, “Someone told me you do this series in the winter — in the dark? Is that true?”
Indeed it is, replied the veteran of our winter weekly Tuesday night campaigns. She went on to explain why you would hike at night, in winter, essentially boiling it down to two factors: First, the practical: for most of us, if you want to get in a mid-week hike when all the daylight hours are consumed by work you have little choice but to hike in the dark. And two: it’s a good time. “It’s just a different experience hiking in the dark. It’s fun!”
You can tell the hot days of summer are upon us when the night events start popping up at our State Parks. Such as:
Stars and Planets, Saturday, 9 p.m., Mayo River State Park, Mayodan. The Greensboro Astronomy Club lets you take a peek through their lenses to see what’s up in the sky above. More info here.
We came to a stop in the narrow clearing accommodating a power line and switched off our headlamps. We’d reached the turnaround point for our weekly Tuesday Night Hike, and as was our habit, we went dark for several minutes. The sun was long gone, having set two hours earlier, and the moon was just starting to think about cresting the eastern horizon. It was dark, really dark, and it took our eyes a minute to adjust. Our psyches, too.
When I stepped out the front door early Sunday morning I was immediately struck by an odd thought: Do I need a coat?
That thought hadn’t crossed my mind in nearly four months.
We look forward to Labor Day because, psychologically at least, it marks the transition from summer to fall. More often than not, this transition is in theory. The holiday weekend usually is better-served for one last fling at the pool than it is for a six-mile hike in the Piedmont. Not this year.