Using the summer bag for a backpack trip to Wilson Creek. Hiking in shorts along Falls Lake. Talking a 5-mile hike after work. That all happened in the past six days in our GetBackpacking! and GetHiking! worlds.

Throw in the towel on adventure for the season just because it’s November?

Not so fast, junior.

Something about the transition from October to November makes us think that our adventure season is over. Maybe it’s the transition to Standard Time (and its association with the dark, cold days of winter). Maybe it’s that we’re just past the peak of fall color and the world is quickly fading to gray. Whatever fuels this assumption, it’s misguided because we’ve got another solid month for exploring the wild before the weather truly plays a legitimate role in making us think about throttling back.

Consider: From the beginning of November to the end, the average daily high temperature only drops from 67 to 59 (the average daytime high: 62.4). November is the second driest month of the year (2.97 inches of average rainfall, second only to April’s 2.8 inches). And North Carolina averages 18 days of sunshine or partial sunshine in November. It all adds up to a great month of adventure, right?

Over the next couple of weeks in this space, we’ll look at ways you can take advantage of November’s last hurrah for camping, paddling and hiking. Today, a quick synopsis:

Camping. Two things bode well for a November camping trip. One, no one thinks of camping in November; thus, it’s easy-as-pie to get a campsite. Granted, most of the National Park campgrounds have closed, as have a number of National Forest Service facilities. But of those still open (or partially open), they’re yours for the picking. Imagine cruising into the Davidson River Campground, possibly the most popular campground in the Pisgah National Forest, on a Friday afternoon, and having your pick of spots!

The other thing that makes November camping a joy? Those overnight lows in the 40s, which make for great sleeping weather and help keep the bug population at bay.

Paddling. Water temperatures are cooling across the region, but in the Piedmont and at the coast, at least, they’ve yet to get cold. At Falls Lake in the Triangle, for instance, the USGS reported a water temperature above 70 degrees on Nov. 3; coupled with an air temperature that same day of 81, and you’ve got some pretty prime paddling conditions. Head east and those number only rise. Conditions are especially good for paddling those open waters that are too hot and sunny in summer.

Hiking and backpacking. The advantage of having great trails from mountains to sea (including the Mountains-to-Sea Trail) is that if conditions aren’t right one place, they likely will be another. If you wanted to hike on Wednesday of this week (Nov. 8), for instance, the forecast rain might discourage you from hiking in the Piedmont, but the more promising forecast for the mountains would make a trip along the Black Mountain Crest Trail — the highest trail on the East Coast) a likely alternative. Whodda guessed? As for backpacking, those dry, cool days are tailor-made for an overnight in the woods.

We’ll be back shortly with specific ideas on where to camp, paddle and hike in November, in the region. Until then, keep your calendar — and your mind — open to adventure.

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Weather data is from and