Already, it is August — mid-August, to be accurate — and the days of summer are waning. If you’re not a friend of hot weather, this comes as good news. But if you like the heat and feel you haven’t taken full advantage of the season, this realization could bum you out. Don’t let it.
With another steamy summer weekend coming up, rather than think about how to deal with the heat, why not think about how to embrace it instead? A couple thoughts on the subject, both of which involve water.
On the water
North Carolina State Parks offers two ways to beat the heat this weekend on the water.
Whooo, baby! We’re looking at our first 90-degree weekend of the year. And you had your heart set on taking a hike.
No need to cancel your plans. You just need to alter them a wee bit.
From our GetHiking! Guide to Summer Hiking, a bit of advice:
- Dress appropriately. Button-up fishing and hiking shirts typically have vents and mesh that do a good job of keeping your torso from building up head. Shorts are good, but there are also inexpensive lightweight nylon pants that protect your legs without keeping in the heat.
- Hydrate. Always important, especially in heat. Increase your desire to drink by packing cold water, either by filling a water bottle three-quarters full the night before, freezing it and topping it off with cold water before the hike, or by loading a bladder with ice, then filling in the nooks and crannies with cold water.
- Hike early. The coolest part of the day. This weekend, the temperatures shortly after sunrise should be in the low 60s.
- Hike late. Temperatures typically peak late afternoon, then drop as the sun does. By 6:30 p.m. you should be down 10 degrees from the day’s high, and you’ll benefit from a continually dropping thermostat.
- Choose a heat-resistant trail. How, you ask? Look for trails with:
- Higher elevations. The temperature drops roughly 3 degrees for every 1,000 feet of elevation.
- Near water. Trails along creeks or around lakes are especially good. If you start to overheat, kick off your boots and wade in.
- Look for a northern exposure. Trails that spend most of their time on a northern exposure, away from direct sunlight, tend to be cooler.
Not sure you want to do that much research? Worry not. We have some recommendations.
Several mornings this week when we walked out the door, we could feel it: with temperatures in the low 60s — rising only into the low 80s — summer’s stranglehold was loosening. It may have a full month of residency left according to the calendar (fall doesn’t officially start until Sept. 22), but fall has begun elbowing its way in. Sure, we still have some hot days remaining. But the transition has begun.
Ah, Fourth of July Weekend! The fireworks displays, the Festival for the Eno, the cookout gatherings … .
OK, so maybe we can’t celebrate our nation’s independence the way we usually do. But we can certainly celebrate our independence by getting out and exploring. And this year in particular by doing so in the true American spirit of being a maverick, a lone wolf. Someone who likes to get out and take an adventure of their own. Alone. Or at least six feet from anyone else.