This weekend: GetHiking! with us

You could practically hear the wolves start to howl as the sun sets over Lake Waccamaw — if there were wolves at the lake.

Start your weekend Friday evening with a Friday the 13th evening wander around Lake Waccamaw, then spend what promises to be a glorious Saturday high in the mountains at the Elk Knob Headwaters Community Day, or join us in Raleigh at Umstead State Park and get hiking — with our new GetHiking! Triangle program.

Coast

Exploring a natural mystery in the dark? We’re in! Especially if it’s a chance to explore a place with as much mystery and intrigue as Lake Waccamaw. Lake Waccamaw’s Friday the 13th Park After Dark event gives you the opportunity to do a night wander in a swamp, amid plants that eat meat and around the mystery that is Lake Waccamaw, a Carolina Bay described as “one of the greatest geological mysteries of the eastern United States.” Was this (and the thousands of other bays that once dotted the eastern seaboard) the result of an alien invasion (in the form of meteorites)? Something to think about as the gloam turns to night … .

Logistics: Friday, September 13, 7 p.m. Free. Learn more about the park here.

Friday forecast: A cold front moves through, dropping the daytime high of 90 to an overnight low of 59. 30 percent chance of rain.

Above the Company Mill Trail, at Crabtree Creek.

Piedmont

We’re going to promote ourselves this week, without reservation. Saturday marks the first hike in our new GetHiking! Triangle program (a program we hope to spread). Working with our sponsor, Great Outdoor Provision Co., our goal is two-fold. One, to get aspiring hikers out the door and into the woods. If you’ve taken a hike or two in your life and liked it but, for whatever reason, haven’t hiked more, GetHiking! Triangle is for you. We aim to take the mystery out of hiking and to expose you to some of the great trails in the Triangle and beyond. Our second goal is to take more experienced hikers who find themselves hiking the same trails week after week and expose them to the vast network of trails in the Triangle, the Piedmont and statewide.

Our first hike is Saturday at Umstead State Park. We’ll be doing the popular Company Mill Trail in a baby bear, mama bear, papa bear approach. Newcomers have the option of an out-and-back down to Crabtree Creek (2 miles), more experienced hikers can do a 4.5-mile truncated version of the trail, while folks up for a good workout can do the entire 6-mile lollipop loop. And the weather for our first hike could not be better, with WRAL calling it “A spectacular day with lots of sunshine, very comfortable temperatures and low humidity.”

You can keep tabs on our weekly hikes and other activities by joining our GetHikingTriangle! Meetup group. And if you don’t have plans for this Thursday night, we’ll be kicking off the program at Great Outdoor Provision Co.’s Cameron Village store at 6:30 p.m. We’ll talk about where we’ll be hiking this fall (with slideshow), we’ll have refreshments (including a local craft beer tasting) and everyone gets a free pair of SmartWool hiking socks!

Logistics: Saturday, Sept. 14, 8 a.m., Umstead State Park (Harrison Avenue entrance off I-40). More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 75 (likely in the low to mid 60s at the start), sunny, low humidity.

Atop Elk Knob.

Mountains

How do you make a mountain hike in September even better? By adding a pot luck. That’s the plan at Saturday’s Elk Knob Headwaters Community Day at Elk Knob State Park in Todd (between Boone and Jefferson), where all sorts of fun is planned between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Lunch will be served at noon (bring a dish), followed by an afternoon of music, cultural and historical displays and demonstrations, a silent auction fundraiser, raffle, interpretive programs, arts and crafts, kids games, wagon rides, hikes and food.

And don’t forget to work in a hike through a northern hardwood forest consisting primarily of sugar maple, yellow birch, American beech and yellow buckeye to the 5,520-foot summit of Elk Knob. If it’s a clear day, the view is one of the best in the state.

Logistics: Saturday, Sept. 14, 11 a.m., Elk Knob State Park, Todd. More info on the festival and the park, here.

Saturday forecast: High of 64, partly cloudy.

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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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