Flocks of birds have flown high and away.
A solitary drift of cloud, too, has gone, wandering on.
And I sit alone with the Ching-Ting Peak, towering beyond.
We never grow tired of each other, the mountain and I.
-- Li Po (c. 701-762)
* * * * *
The Northeast is known for its distinctive seasons, but there are obviously no clear divides between them. For weeks it seems we’ve been shifting back and forth between spring and summer, alternating between chilly spells and heat waves.
Memorial Day will be arriving a week from today, and that holiday weekend is popularly considered to mark the start of summer, even though our calendars show spring continuing for 3 more weeks till it officially draws to a close on June 21.
In any case, most of us have already altered our seasonal wardrobes, although as I try to regularly remind people, it’s essential to continue to bring warm layers along on hikes just in case of cooler-than-expected temperatures in the mountains.
T-shirt weather should be nearly the norm on our hikes for the next few months, but morning temps can be in the 40s-to-50s range at higher elevations, and anyone who fails to bring a warm layer or two could find themselves feeling pretty chilled.
Some of you spend a lot of time out of town at this time of year, or take an annual vacation, and others of you hike with us regularly straight through the summer.
I’ll soon address the subject of heat on summer hikes -- which is not usually a problem, since many of our trips take us to higher mountain elevations where temperatures can be delightful. And there’s often a swimming option to help us keep cool!
-- Charlie Cook