We all get trapped at times by weather. Sometimes it is cold and snow. Other times it is rain wind. Every year those of us who live by the North Carolina shore know that we must pass through one of those brief periods when it is just too hot to spend much time outside. Even the fish and birds hide from the heat, humidity and the sun which seems to have an especially direct path to North Carolina in late summer.
In some respects it is the cruelest few days of the year. The skies are a beautiful blue, the water is warm, and we know we will miss the heat in January and February. This year is a little worse since the heat has come late and most of the tourists have already gone home. The beaches should be ours.
However, summer's heat has most of us in retreat and hiding in our air conditioned homes. I went kayaking the other night and each paddle stroke brought up a puff of heat from the 88F water. Two days ago I went straight from my early morning hike to the shower. It ended up being a three shower day and it was one of those days when I did not have to bother with hot water in the shower. The water coming out of our cold water pipes was plenty warm.
My next attempt to avoid the heat was a boat ride. The clouds were beautiful and it was almost comfortable on the river but when I slowed down and headed back into our inlet it was like crossing the equator. The air stopped moving and the heat swallowed me in seconds. I should have parked myself out in Bogue Inlet but it was too late in the day to go that far.
I might try a beach walk but it has to wait until almost dark when things cool slightly so that does not give me as much time as I would like.
Fortunately this spell of heat and humidity will be over in another couple of days so it is nothing to get upset about considering what else is happening in the world. Still I miss the outside world where I love to spend my time.
Having that trapped feeling in summer is not something unique to Carteret County. It was far worse when we lived in Columbia, Maryland. At least we can count on a sea breeze most days here. In Maryland the air, humidity, and heat just took up residence and never moved during the summers.
We had a different but similar problem when we lived on our farm in Tay Creek, New Brunswick. Just when the weather would get nice in June, the black flies would come out to torment us. One spring in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the harbor filled with pack ice and going outside was similar to being on an ice cube inside a glass of ice water.
Our nice fall weather in Roanoke, Virginia was spoiled a couple of times by the smoke from forest fires. The acrid air made even a walk to get the newspaper unpleasant. Any time we start feeling a little trapped, I remind myself that we can always get in the car and take a trip to someplace different.
Sometimes it is just a matter of getting to the place on the beach where there the barrier island is so thin that the water has you almost surrounded. It is easy to do here on the Crystal Coast. Close to Third Street Beach where we are headed tonight, the beach is so narrow that some homes are oceanfront and second row sound at the same time. With the surf around 84F, it is just about perfect even during this time of late season warmth.
To find relief to the west, we would have to drive more than a few hours to escape the early fall heat of 2014. We could find somewhat cooler air in mountains of North Carolina or Virginia. It is just not very likely we would abandon home for a long drive when the end of the heat is in sight . We would need at least another hour beyond the time it takes to get to Roanoke, Virginia before we found significantly cooler air.
The trapped feeling is a little worse with me than some folks because the outside world is such a big part of my life. I enjoy living a life without walls and the few days of really hot weather that we get each year stop me from doing what I enjoy which is kayaking, hiking, and boating. Going from the magic of spring to our summer waters is not a huge challenge but it does require dealing with heat and humidity. However, when we get our spell of nasty hot weather, I just cross my fingers, do my hiking and boating early in the morning while the temperatures are as reasonable as they get and hope cooler air comes as quickly as possible.
Still a few days of heat is a small price to pay for living in a coastal paradise where winter sometimes forgets to come and summer is often an early visitor. By early next week, the beginning of the second week of September, we will be enjoying all of our coastal treats once again. That leaves us a long season to have fun out of doors.
If you want to be here for the best time of the year, check out my free travel guide to Emerald Isle.