Today is the equinox; it’s hard to believe summer is over! Hard to believe for a couple of reasons–one, of course, is that in North Carolina the weather has just recently shifted from so sticky you sweat when you twitch to pleasantly warm.
People are usually talking about speeding through small towns when they say it, but I think it goes for life as well. I’ve been working so much this last six weeks that I am continually surprised by the passage of time. What, it’s May? Wait, it’s almost Memorial Day? When did that happen?
When did the azaleas in our yard bloom in a riot of color and joy?
I’ve been trying to sample as many of the hiking trails in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area as I can, and for a while now–probably at least since December, so pretty much forever–I’ve had my sights set on checking out Umstead State Park. On Saturday morning, more social plans were postponed, and the garden looked just fine (no weeds yet!), so Sasso and I finally had our chance for a good long hike in a new park.
On Veterans Day, while much of the country was buried by an early winter storm, I took advantage of the sun and temperatures hovering delightfully in the 70s to learn more about North Carolina history.
Even though we had already been to two rocky state parks (Raven Rock State Park and Chimney Rock State Park, as part of our trip to the Asheville area in August), word of mouth and, of course, my trusty Hiking North Carolina assured me that Hanging Rock State Park is the park to beat in central North Carolina.
In the two weeks since our summery dip in the Cape Fear River, fall has sneaked into the Piedmont, complete with brisk temperatures and golden leaves and a time change that allows nighttime to accost you suddenly just after 5 p.m. Yesterday, a sunny, beautiful, and very autumnal day, we hiked the 3.75-mile Cox Mountain trail at Eno River State Park. It was chilly and the sky was that deep blue that comes only with fall.
Would you believe Scott, Sasso, and I went swimming yesterday–October 18? In a big, rushing river an hour from home? And that it was warm and perfect in every way*? I certainly wouldn’t have believed such a thing was possible before moving here, but now I am realizing that October, the best month in many places, is perfect in central North Carolina.
We took a day trip to Raven Rock State Park, currently our favorite place to take Sasso hiking. It’s a delightful, sunlit-foresty 2.5-mile hike from the parking lot to Lanier Falls.