Yes, good fall color remains in the Piedmont. And the weather — temperatures in the low 70s under mostly sunny skies — is looking pretty good for getting out and finding it. That’s our objective for the weekend with these recommendations. First, our three hike recommendations:
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.
Even with the temperature living in the 90s this summer, it’s been hard to find solitude on the trail. Everyone, now, is a hiker.
But not everyone knows to look for the more subtle stretches of trail. Trail, for instance, that doesn’t start from a visitor center, that doesn’t have a privy, that doesn’t even have paved parking — official parking, period. Finding these gems is tricky. But they’re out there.
A dozen summers ago I tried to hike a section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail off Redwood Road in Raleigh and was quickly thwarted. About 20 yards in, the trail disappeared into a sea of summer growth, of saplings and grasses and ground covers all prospering in the heat of the season. I was bummed, because I’d hiked this stretch, Day-Hike Section P, of the MST several times, but, apparently, every time in winter, when the less hardy species had gone into cold storage. The problem in summer: no one hiked this stretch, in large part because not many folks knew it was there.
That rain that moved through the region yesterday ushered in a cool front that will drop temperatures into the low 80s throughout much of GetGoingNC’s adventure land, ideal weather for some weekend adventure. There may be a rogue thunderstorm or two Sunday afternoon, but by-and-large, pretty delightful weather.