This weekend: get out and enjoy the rain!

Tundra swans over Pettigrew State Park. photo courtesy NC State Parks

If you’ve got good rain gear, you’re in for a great weekend. One of this week’s picks even comes with coffee!

Coast

Tis the season to check out the bird life at the coast, where waterfowl from various points north  are congregating to spend the winter. With the skies so full of feathers, wouldn’t it be nice to know who’s who? Learn to identify the year-round residents and snowbirds at Saturday’s Coffee with the Birds at Pettigrew State Park. A cup of coffee and a knowledgeable birder — what better company for a Saturday morning in early December?

Logistics: Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m., Pettigrew State Park, Columbia. More info: 252.797.4475

Saturday forecast: High of 56, rather high (90 percent) chance of rain.

Hiking the Uwharries.

Piedmont

If you’re a hiker, and especially if you’re a fan of long hikes, you’ll appreciate Sunday’s grand opening of the 4-mile stretch of trail linking the Uwharrie National Recreation Trail with the Birkhead Mountain Trail in the Uwharrie National Forest. It may only be 4 miles, but it’s four miles that creates a continuous trail of 40 miles.

Sunday’s grand opening will commence from new Joe Moffitt Trailhead on Thayer Road. The festivities begin at 1 p.m., the hiking at 2. Joe Moffitt, btw, was a Boy Scout leader and was instrumental in helping blaze and build the original Uwharrie Trail in the 1970s. Parts of that trail survived, parts did not. The trail today recreates much of that original 50-mile trail.

Logistics: Sunday, Dec. 8, 1 p.m., Ophir Community Center, 2683 Flint Hill Road, Troy.

Saturday forecast: High of 49, 90 percent chance of rain.

Mountains

The Appalachian Trail, near Bluff Mountain.

If you like a bracing winter hike then brace yourself for Sunday’s Carolina Mountain Club assault on the Appalachian Trail between Lemon Gap and Garenflo Gap. With temperatures forecast around 40 and a 70 percent chance of rain, it’s the ideal mountain hike for the person with the right stuff (mainly, good rain gear). This 7.4-mile hike climbs 700 feet to the Walnut Mountain Shelter, drops 600 feet to Kale Gap, travels open forests before an ascent up Bluff Mountain and a descent to Garenflo Gap.

Logistics: Sunday, Dec. 8, 8 a.m. meeting in Asheville to carpool to the trailhead. More info: Jim Reel at 828.443.2532 or jimr57@yahoo.com.

Sunday forecast: High of 42 with a 70 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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