This weekend: Keep your cool

Dr. Mitchell was after in in the outdoors until the end, when he was in his early 60s.

If you’re looking to escape the weather this weekend, consider this: the forecasts for our three events in the mountains (Swannanoa), the Piedmont (Orange County) and at the coast (Wrightsville Beach) are this: High of 88, 20 to 30 percent chance of precipitation. Likely, it will be hot and a bit muggy wherever you go. Fortunately, we’ve found three events cool in both concept and execution.

Coast

A sound strategy when it’s hot: Get out early and stay near water, a big body preferably.

Friday morning’s Birding Tour hosted by Audubon North Carolina fills both bills. It starts at 9 a.m. (from Public Access 43 on Wrightsville Beach) and it focuses on the birds of the Atlantic coast (among the bigger bodies of water around). A non-heat-related plus: it’s free.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 3, 9 a.m. Wrightsville Beach, Public Access 43. More info: 910.686.7527

Saturday forecast: High of 88 (in the afternoon), 30 percent chance of rain.

Riding Orange County. Photo courtesty Tarwheels bike club.

Piedmont

Another way to stay cool is to generate your own breeze — say, on a bike traveling 15-18 mph. You can do that Saturday on Tour d’Orange, a supported ride benefiting the MS Society. (Despite the geographically limiting name, the ride also tours into d’Chatham and d’Alamance counties.) It’s supported both in the on-the-route sense and the in-the-tummy sense, with nutrition provided by Jersey Mike’s, Mediterranean Deli and Maple View Farms. Routes of 34, 66, 85 and 100 miles.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 3, 8 a.m. $30/$40. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 88, 20 percent chance of precip.

Mountains

When I hike or backpack I frequently wonder about the history of where I am. I wonder about the hominids who have tread here before me, I wonder about what the terrain looked like 100, 200, 10,000 years before. When I’m vaguely familiar with the history of a place, I often start with what I know and build from there.

In the Black Mountains, for instance, I often wonder about the travels of Dr. Elisha Mitchell. In addition to being something of a one-man show during the initial days of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — professor of math, philosophy and natural history; bursar; accountant; and, stints as acting president — Mitchell found time to explore the high country. In fact, it was his passion to explore what he believed to be the highest country yet discovered in the United States. During his last expedition to verify the altitude of what would later become Mount Mitchell, he slipped and fell to his death at a waterfall on the mountain.

Saturday, the Swannanoa Valley Museum will sponsor a hike to that 25-foot falls where Mitchell, in his early 60s, met his adventurous end. The 6.5-mile hike is lead by local history expert Wendell Begley, and is described as “… moderately difficult … along an old logging road surrounded on wilderness. There are several stream crossings and short bushwhacking section requiring the use of a rope.”

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 3, 8:30 a.m. Carpool from the museum, at 223 W. State Street in Swannanoa. $30 for museum members, $50 otherwise. More info and to register: Emailinfo@swannanoavalleymuseum.org or 828.669.9566.

Saturday forecast: 88 (in Swannanoa, likely cooler on the hike), 30 percent chance of rain.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar

Piedmont

Charlotte

Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triad

GoTriad.com
Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triangle

Triangle.com
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Statewide

Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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