Today - specifically, 3:20 pm EST - is the autumnal equinox. For every day between now and the winter solstice (at 10:58 am EST), the days are becoming shorter, but by a smaller and smaller amount each day. I am not typically excited about winter, but I a this year, maybe in light of the challenges of this summer and fall. Last fall I ran with a friend from the Elkmont trailhead in the Smokies - at around 2,000 feet - to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the Smokies and the second highest point in the Eastern U.S., right around the winter solstice. I have good - cold - memories of hiking with the little one late last December around Laurel Falls. I also recall a family trip to Abrams Falls and a “twice up”) and another one with my little one on a freezing day in early February - the trail, even at a low elevation, was covered in snow and there were icicles everywhere. I remember a double ascent of Mt. LeConte - more than 10,000 feet of elevation gain, almost getting stuck atop LeConte as the sun set - in late February.
In short, I’m excited to move toward winter. But, I suppose we have a fall to enjoy first.