The times they are a changin’. And that change is affecting when we get out and play. Two factors in particular affect the when-we-play factor in North Carolina:
- North Carolina ranks 9th nationally in number of telecommuting jobs, a position bolstered largely by the state’s high-tech industry, which is more likely to let employees work from home. (Jobs that are most likely to support telecommuting — software programming, information security, data analyst, technical writer — are common here, especially in the Triangle.) Further, the trend is growing: the number of regular telecommuting employees nationwide has increased by 115 percent since 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Between 2000 and 2010, the Raleigh-Cary area had the fastest growing retiree population in the country; the state’s Division of Aging and Adult Services says the senior population in Wake County alone will increase by 163 percent over the next two decades.
Telecommuters with more flexible work schedules and retirees whose time is likewise more malleable means that these two sizable demographics aren’t relegated to just getting out on weekends. Add in a sizable service industry with varied working hours that can leave time off during the day, and we’ve got a seemingly sizable number of candidates for midweek escapes.
Sunset today is at 8:19 p.m., with lingering light until 8:48 p.m. Come June 21—the Summer Solstice, the start of summer, the “longest” day of the year—sunset is at 8:34 p.m. Daylight starts diminishing after that, but by a quirk of Earth’s orbit, the sun continues to stay up longer until June 28, when sunset is at about 8:35, with light lingering until after 9 p.m.
That is a lot of evening daylight to play with.
This is why we’re adding more midweek, after-work hikes in our GetHiking! programs. This week, for instance, we’ve got:
- Tuesday: 3-mile hike at Brumley Family Nature Preserve in Hillsborough.
- Wednesday: 3-mile hike at Johnston Mill Nature Preserve in Chapel Hill.
- Thursday: GetOriented! Finding your Way in the Woods in Greensboro.
We started doing after-work hikes three years ago, through our GetHiking! Corporate program. Every Tuesday and Thursday, workers from IQVIA, SAS, MetLife and elsewhere head to Umstead State Park for a hike of 3 to 4 miles. It’s not so much the exercise they’re after—they could get that in their corporate gyms. Rather, it’s a vital midweek fix of being outdoors and on the trail that helps them keep it together until the weekend.
Sounds good, you say, but …
=&0=&. Summer is hot, true. The temperature typically spikes around 5 p.m., so if you’re starting at 6, the temperature is already starting to drop. Further, if you’re hiking on a wooded trail, that full canopy overhead drops the temperature by about 10 degrees. A 90-degree scorcher suddenly becomes a more manageable 80-degree hike.
=&1=&. It does tend to be …
Explore the outdoors, discover yourself.