August is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August has arrived. Summer is dwindling and the Autumn Equinox is around the corner. August brings a lot of changes and excitement.

School is only days away from opening. Football practice has already begun, and high school bands are polishing both their instruments and music.

Weight training and heat acclimation practices will give way to full-fledged drills for high school football teams, with the fall sports schedule less than one month away. This is a great time of year for high school athletics, when team building and skill development take center stage, before the pressures of the classroom return. It is during these practices that teams share experiences: difficult drills, exhausting conditioning, meal breaks, all of which create memories that also build bonds. It is those relationships that help, in part, to make good teams great, and great teams champions.

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We hate to see summer wane, but there is an excitement in the air for school (and sports) to start again.

August is also the month for the annual Appalachian Fair at Gray with its carnival-like atmosphere, special displays and competition. Our heritage is on display as 4-Hers show animals they have raised for months, dreaming of blue ribbons.

Just as athletics teaches leadership, responsibility and dedication, so, too, do FFA and 4H clubs. Both experiences build character.

And, if your haven’t noticed, the grasshopper has already made his late summer appearance.

As the children’s rhyme says: “August brings the sheaves of corn, and our harvest time is born.”

As with each month, we wonder how August came upon us so fast. While we don’t want to wish away these beautiful summertime days, fall is fast approaching. Stores are brimming with back-to-school displays and the new styles of clothing. Halloween decorations are already out in some stores.

Yet, there are many fun things left to do before fall arrives, some being the Roan Mountain Farmer’s Market each Saturday at the Roan Mountain Community Park; the Elizabethton Farmer’s Market each Tuesday afternoon in the First Christian Church Parking Lot; the 14th Annual Butterfly Count at Sycamore Shoals State Park this Saturday; Old Butler Days coming up August 11 and 12; the Watauga Lake Triathlon on August 26, not to mention music each Saturday evening at the Covered Bridge Park and the Roan Mountain State Park.

Also, the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton-Carter County will host its annual Steak N Burger fundraiser August 24. If you haven’t got your ticket, there’s still time to do so.

Late summer is a good time to explore the outdoors in our area. Take a hike on the Appalachian Trail or a day trip to Roan Mountain. Enjoy a bike ride on the Tweestie Trail, or spend a day fishing the Doe or Watauga River.

There’s so much to do and enjoy in August, adventure that we cannot claim on cold, snowy days in December and January. August, it beckons us to come outside and enjoy the last days of summer.