Autumn Adventure Awaits

by Dave on August 27, 2009

by Mark Carter
Kayak Guide, Quest Fitness & Kayak

from Coastal Sussex Weekly, August 27, 2009

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  Is it Christmas already?  No, it’s fall in coastal Delaware.  The hot and humid days of late summer are fading away.  Folks are falling back into their routines with fall sports and school schedules, so the crowds are thinning a bit.  The air seems more refreshing.  The skies look a brighter blue.  The water is still warm enough to splash about in.  Ah, fall is here and outdoor adventures abound.

The first real sign that the seasons are changing aside from the days getting shorter is that the point at Cape Henlopen State Park opens up.  The piping plovers will have moved on and the opening of the point means some virgin beach for some shoreline sauntering.  Check out the point early on and get first claim on some beach glass, seashells, or even some unique driftwood pieces.

Looking to take your fitness outside?  Want to really challenge the body?  It’s always great to work the calves a little and put in some miles with a point to point run.  Park at Herring Point (a.k.a. the Naval Jetties) and run north up around the cape to Point Comfort (bayside).  Use the walk from the parking area there to the Nature Center as your cool down.  Borrow a free bike (courtesy of Friends of CHSP) from the Nature Center and pedal back to Herring Point to pick up your vehicle.  Just don’t forget to drop the bike back off before you head into Lewes for a well-earned lunch.

O.K., so maybe you’re not up for a run on the beach, and you prefer to get around on two wheels.  The best way to get to Rehoboth for a slice of pizza or some Dolle’s caramel popcorn is the Breakwater Trail from Lewes to the Avenue in Rehoboth.  Grab a water bottle and jump on your bike (or rent one from Lewes Cycle sports) and hit the trail.  It’s great exercise, and honestly is probably just as fast as driving by the time you hit all the traffic lights and search for a parking spot.

Another cycling option that presents a little more mileage is the American Discovery Trail (ADT).  The ADT’s trailhead is located within Cape Henlopen State Park and runs for approximately 52 miles across the entire state.  The roads are mostly rural ones, so it’s a cyclists’ dream.  About 1/2 way across the state, you cruise right through downtown historic Milton, so you’ve got a built-in pit stop at any of the local eateries.  You could even stop by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for some “carb-loading” and a sample some of their “off-centered ales.”

Autumn adventure in coastal Sussex is not limited to solid ground.  The water is usually rather temperate until mid-late October, and the summer boat traffic essentially vanishes.  Paddling opportunities in the area are essentially limitless so any trip in the fall is usually an enjoyable one.  You can contact Quest Fitness and Kayak in Lewes for some sample itineraries or if you’re in need of a rental.  Visit them at

Rainy day…if the weather turns south on your outing date, don’t despair.  Visit one of the many nature centers in the area like Cape Henlopen State Park, or James’ Farm and learn about all the cool critters and such that your see while you’re out there running, biking and paddling around.  Need some exercise?  Check out the Rock Wall at Quest Fitness and try your hand at some bouldering and feel the burn in some muscles that you didn’t know you had.

Don’t allow daylight hours to stymie your adventurous spirit.  The full moons of fall almost always are the biggest and the brightest.  Go for a night hike and get spooked by the hoot of a screech owl or the scurry of an opossum across the trail.  Check out the fall programs at the local state parks for nighttime activities for the area.

Two noteworthy meteor showers also occur in the fall.  Oct. 21-22 is the Orionids Meteor Shower that averages around 20 shooting stars per hour.  A great way to enjoy this one is to find a sandy dune on the beach, bundle up, face east and let the show begin.  The Leonids Meteor Shower falls on Nov. 17-18 this year and often has around 40 per hour.  The most optimal viewing windows for both showers are from midnight to just before dawn, and this year the moon phase works out so that it’ll be really nice and dark out there.

Get out the fleece top, grab a water bottle and some GORP and get out there.  Fall at the beach should be the most adventurous time of the year.

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