The winter sky is dry and clear, the temperature cold, invigorating. It’s the perfect weather for a long mountain hike. Then, your car loaded with gear and enthusiasm, you find your travels and day-hike dreams shattered by those two little words on a barricade baring access to the trailhead:
Another mostly sunny weekend with daytime highs in the low 50s.
In other words, another weekend where you might be hard-pressed to find a trail that isn’t swamped with hikers. And, as a result, another GetOut! column in which we try to point you in the direction of trails less likely to attract the masses.
On Thursday, we wrote of our forgotten trails, the trails that we once hiked regularly, the trails we dreamt of hiking when hiking was in our dreams. And then, for some reason, we stopped hiking them. Can’t really remember why, either.
Wednesday morning I was 10 minutes down the trail, passing through a clearing about to reenter the woods when I was struck by an odd mix of discovery and deja vu. The trail through this rolling hardwood forest and this clearing was both familiar and foreign. I’d hiked here before, plenty of times. At one point, I probably hiked here two or three times a month. And I had some vivid memories, including one visit in a light snow. But there was one thing I couldn’t remember.
We are so ready for fall — and the fall hiking season, which begins this weekend.
We know: the calendar says fall doesn’t start until September 22. But we have long associated Labor Day with the passing of the torch from summer to fall. Even in the wack-a-doodle year of 2020, when up is down and down is sideways, we can’t shake the holiday’s unofficial hand-off.