The following originally appeared Aug. 9, 2018, under the title, “Making Sense of a Weather Forecast.” It appears again, tweaked a bit, because knowing the forecast going into fall is especially important, as we’ll start encountering cooler temperatures that will affect how we prepare for a hike, and thus, our safety.
The temperature was around 60, the sky as blue as it gets. It was a gorgeous day for hiking any time of the year, let alone the first weekend of January. And yet … .
“I could stand it a little colder,” Jenny said as we took a short break hiking the Buckquarter Creek Trail at Eno River State Park, our first GetHiking! Winter Program for Beginners hike. Her fellow sun-drenched hikers nodded.
To hike, or not to hike. That was the question Monday upon waking to see that not only were Sunday’s 11 inches of snow still on the ground, but Mother Nature was adding another two. The second hike in our Tuesday Night Hikes series was scheduled for the next evening, on a stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake; looking out the window, I wondered if we could pull if off.
As part of my Monday morning ritual, I check the weather forecast for the hikes, trips and classes we have in the week ahead. It may be the most frustrating thing I do all week. What I have discovered, though, is there’s a whole lot more to deciding whether to proceed or pull the plug than simply checking the chance of bad weather.
Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb.