One of the reasons we like to do a GetBackpacking! trip to the Shining Rock area in April is because we get to revisit spring. Traditionally, we begin at the Shining Rock Creek/Big East Fork Trailhead off US 276, at an elevation of about 3,100 feet. Here, spring is well underway, with mid-spring wildflowers in bloom, the trees essentially leafed out. But as we climb, as we gain more than 2,400 vertical feet on a 4.3-mile climb up to Shining Rock Gap, time begins to reverse itself. Trees just beginning to sprout leaves, wildflowers of the early season sort. By the time we reach the top, the trees are winter-bare, first-responder bluets dominate the wildflower scene. A visit to Shining Rock is like going back in time.
The news for this weekend is the weather. Don’t make plans for Saturday morning, do make plans to enjoy the rest of the weekend, a cool, sun-filled winter-like weekend.
Saturday morning — the exact time depends upon where you live — a cold front moves in, the kind of cold front ushered in by gusty winds, thunderstorms, possibly tornadoes. Then, sun — and temperatures that will drop into the upper 30s by late afternoon. Temperatures will drop into the low 20s overnight Saturday, rising only into the mid-40s on Sunday. Thus, you might want to reconsider the 9 a.m. Volunteer Days Saturday at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve and Carvers Creek State Park, but you should be OK for the …
We’re all about Spring this week, with the first sightings of trout lilies and spring beauties, and 70-degree weather in the wings. This should be the week that spring bursts out in all its eagerly awaited glory.
That said, today we crib from our GetHiking! Spring Wildflowers tip sheet and share some insights into where to look for spring and what it is you’re looking for.
Finally, the classic warm-weather forecast: Partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms.
We’re not really sure what’s going to happen.
Plan your weekend as usual, but before heading out, check the radar. It will be pleasantly warm this weekend — perhaps topping 80 in the Piedmont, but mostly in the upper 70s — but not hot enough to generate those pop-up storms that come from nowhere. (And no, I am not a meteorologist, just a guy who’s spent most of his life poking a wet index finger in the air to gauge the weather.) Thus, if you check the radar of choice of your weather app, you’ll be able to fairly accurately judge what’s coming, at least within the next few hours. If your radar has a projection function, engage it to see where the weather is likely headed.
As someone pointed out on Facebook earlier this week, this is the first time since November that a seven-day forecast has not included a chance of rain. Further, we’re looking at sunny days with temperatures in the 50s for the weekend, rising into the low 70s by the end of next week. Thus, you are obligated to get out. And we are obligated to help you.