We're approaching the dog days of summer.
It's often the time of the year when many folks would rather hit the movie theater than head outside. Instead of battling the heat and humidity, they'd rather spend the time inside an air-conditioned room.
I live by the idea that a summer day — no matter the weather — is a horrible thing to waste. After all, in six months we'll likely be begging for some heat. You didn't forget last winter already, did you?
No matter how hot the temperature gets or how high the humidity, there's always plenty to do outdoors. You just need to think cool. Here is how you do it.
First, get up early and hit the trail. The mid-day highs may be scorching, but mornings in the woods are often surprisingly refreshing. My advice is to check out the miles of trails that weave through our county parks. They are well maintained, close to home and, unless you are hiking every weekend, offer plenty of new sights to see.
One of my favorite mid-summer hikes is to hit the Mason Dixon Trail as its snakes beneath a canopy of shady hardwoods in the southern end of the county. For the seasoned, start at Apollo County Park and follow the blue blazes north to Long Level.
An early-morning hike on that path lets you get out of the sun, beat the late-day heat and, best of all, be close to the Susquehanna for a mid-day jaunt on the water. When the weather is hot, a kayak is the perfect watercraft. All you have to do when the sweat gets in your eyes, is slide of the side and cool off.
Some easy places to launch and beat the river's weekend crowds are in Wrightsville. There is a launch owned by the Fish and Boat Commission just south of the Route 462 bridge and another public launch at the community park just north of the bridge.
If you don't want to kayak on the river's flowing waters, don't worry. There are plenty of lakes in York County. Pinchot is a hot spot for kayakers. And so are Lake Redman and Lake Williams just south of the city.
Finally, as the temperatures reach their peak, get off the water. It is time to get in the water. Wet wading is a great way to beat summertime heat.
Head to the shallow water of the Susquehanna just east of Mount Wolf and try your luck for smallmouths, walleyes and catfish. But leave the waders at home. With some "skin in the game" you will feel the cool riffles and creek junctions fish call home when the water heats up.
The bottom line is simple. It's summertime. That means it's hot outside. By the time February rolls around and we're up to our thighs in snow, we will crave this kind of weather. Take advantage of it now.
Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.