THE BRIGHTENING: 4 SEASONS ACCORDING TO BACKPACKER MAGAZINE The March 2017 issue has an article “The Playlist: this month’s top trips and picks.” In it there are 20 items that range from places to hike, tips, helpful information, and commentary.
Number 9: GEOPINION “See the Light”, proposes a new way to organize the four seasons. Why? To allow outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage of the best outdoor light conditions for enjoying and conquering the environment while hiking. The item starts by noting that the first day of Spring on the calendar this year is March 20. But, the author continues, backpackers know that “what matters most is when days start getting longer” which “happens weeks before the official spring equinox rolls around.”
“It’s time for those of us who venture into to wild world where sunlight rules to overlay our own, more meaningful calendar.” Hey I like this idea!
Here’s how the seasons should be structured, according to the opinion:
THE BRIGHTENING: would start on February 4; “glorious season in which you can finally plan a trip without a triple set of headlamp batteries”
THE SHINING: should begin May 5; “the season of long days fit for big miles”
THE DIMMING: onset of August 7; “reminder to seize every weekend”
THE DARKENINIG: starts November 7; “perhaps plan a moonlit hike”
The writer does not call for chucking the old system but for using the daylight-based year to inform the backpacking world: don’t wait for ‘Spring’ to arrive to plan hikes. Longer days start with “The Brightening”.
Runners and walkers might also benefit from considering the seasons in the same way as hikers. Although we are not as restricted to daylight hours in enjoying our outdoor activity, the proportion of the day in which the sun is above the horizon may affect enthusiasm and the planning of long or destination runs in nearby getaway locations.
Personally, I so very much anticipate the lengthening duration of daylight and dread it’s shortening that this parallel seasonal system more accurately tracks what matters a great deal to me too. Hard to believe that someone would be a little bit sad in the last third of June at the summer solstice because it marks the turning point in daylight toward the dark side, but that’s me. Also in the land of long winters, it’s refreshing to find another reason for optimism in February. Groundhog Day outcomes cannot boost moods in a significantly large area of the US.
At the time of this post we will be in the season of Brightening; let’s celebrate and accelerate our timeline to enjoy the great outdoors.
NOTE: I bought the paper copy of the BACKPACKER magazine and cannot determine the author of this section to credit for the creative suggestion. The article is not available online without a subscription, thus there’s no link as it would likely violate the copyright license to copy any of the piece. Instead check out the magazine’s website through this link or pick up a copy to get inspiration from enthusiasts of this recreational physical activity.
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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