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.
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.
I’d like to say I start every day with a 2- or 3-mile hike. Truth is, that doesn’t happen until I’ve been up 45 minutes. That first three-quarters of an hour is a general muddle that involves getting to the point where I’m able to take a 2- to 3-mile hike: staring at myself in the bathroom mirror, making coffee, reading. Once I’ve slapped myself into consciousness, I head down the block for a hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail here in Hillsborough.
Temperatures first thing in the 40s, rising only into the 60s during the day, plenty of sun: our awesome autumn continues. As do our thoughts on how best to make the most of it. If you’re looking for a guided hike, for instance:
Basin Hike, Saturday, 10 a.m., Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure Beach. This is about the time when we start getting excited about hiking at the coast. I know, we’re just hitting peak color in the Piedmont, but the cool temperatures and clear skies are made for a coastal adventure. And this hike is always the first one that comes to mind: the 1.1-mile hike starting on the beach, heading inland through salt marsh, past a World War II bunker that once housed something of a celebrity, and finally to an overlook overlooking The Basin and Zeke’s Island beyond. Some of the most wide-open space you’ll encounter on trail in North Carolina. Space is limited, reserve a spot by calling 919.458.5798. Learn more here.
After paying weekly visits to Seven Mile Creek Natural Area west of Hillsborough for eight months, last week I finally had the chance to share this find with other hikers. They were equally impressed.
It was the first of our weekly GetHiking Sunrise, Sunset Summer Beat the Heat Hikes, and it lived up to the hype. Thunderstorms that had been threatening to flare throughout the afternoon vanished by hike time (7 p.m.) and we were treated to the late day light that’s special to the season. As the light faded, over rocky Seven Mile Creek and the surrounding low hills, we could feel it taking the temperature with it. We weren’t exactly chilled by hike’s end — the temperature was 89 less than an hour before the hike — but between the sheltering canopy above and a 7-degree drop by hikes end, we were no longer melting into our boots. You can see a video of that hike last Wednesday on Friday’s post.