This early run of fall-like weather has been both blessing and curse. After a summer of heat and humidity, the first half of September has been hiking-perfect: Sunny, dry days, coupled with clear, cool nights. The weather is inviting and the leaves are turning early. You can’t wait to get on the trail! Neither can the seasonal masses who discover hiking every year at this time. The trails are getting crowded.
We’ve been thinking about some of our favorite mountain places to explore come fall, and realized that there are a variety of ways we love to explore them. There’s the day hike: spending a day to see as much as possible, then heading home. There’s the basecamp trip: Either establishing camp in a campground or hiking in a short distance in full pack and setting up camp, then doing day hikes from there. Or, there’s the point-to-point backpack trip. Since we all explore differently, we thought, why not look at all three options? So today, we do.
Who wants to wait until Saturday to kick off the weekend? Especially when you have the option for a Friday Morning Hike.
We launch our new GetHiking! Fall Friday Morning Hike Series a week from today (Sept. 10), with a 4-mile hike on the Cox Mountain Trail at Eno River State Trail — the very same trail that we hiked this morning — in long sleeves and a vest, which one does when the temperature is just 48 degrees! That’s a good omen for our 8-week series, which gives you a jump on the weekend without playing hooky (the hikes start at 7:30 a.m., we’re done by 9).
Each time we enter a new hiking season, the rules change. For three seasons, the change is significant enough to warrant the requisite reminders. Going into winter, it’s important to remember that the sun sets early, that it gets colder than you may recall, that any weather change needs to be heeded because the stakes for the unprepared are significant. Going into spring, the world is coming back to life — including itchy plants, biting flying creatures and venomous snakes. And summer — drink, drink, drink!
You know why you haven’t taken up backpacking?
Because you think you have to hike with 40 pounds on your back with every footstep you take.
Well, you don’t. If every backpack trip we took involved lugging a full pack for days on end, we wouldn’t backpack, either.