Let March know you’ve been waiting for it with a big outdoor welcome this weekend. Paddle the month in at the coast, greet it from on high in the Piedmont, or acknowledge its arrival with a classic hike on the Appalachian Trail near Hot Springs.
In winter, our adventures tend to be on foot. As the weather warms, though, we become more open to other modes of transport. Canoes, for instance.
Canoeing is the best way to explore Lake Waccamaw State Park in the coastal plain, and it’s the exploration tool of choice for Saturday’s “Big Creek Adventure.” You’ll start on this ranger-led paddle on Big Creek, then wind up in Lake Waccamaw, a Carolina bay known for its critters found nowhere else on the planet. Likely the most intriguing hour and a half you’ll spend for a time to come.
Logistics: Saturday, March 1, 2 p.m. Free, but preregistration required, by calling 910.646.4748. More about Lake Waccamaw, here.
Saturday forecast: High of 59, chance of rain.
Imagine it’s a thousand years ago, you’re trying to get from Point A in what is now north central North Carolina to Point B. You stop and ask directions; inevitably, as part of the reply would be a reference to “Jomeokee.” When you get to Jomeokee, hang a left … If you get to Jomeokee, you know you’ve gone too far … It’s just a stone’s throw from Jomeokee.
What is this once universal traffic signal known as Jomeokee? It’s what we now also call the Big Pinnacle atop Pilot Mountain, and it’s the focus of Saturday’s hike at Pilot Mountain State Park. The Jomeokee Trail is less than a mile in length, rimming the base of the 200-foot pinnacle that tops off the mountain. Come, hike and learn more about Jomeokee’s human history and about the role it plays in the mountain’s ecology.
Logistics: Saturday, 1 p.m., Pilot Mountain State Park, Mount Pilot. More info on the hike: 336.325.2355. More info on the park, here.
Saturday forecast: High of 52, partly cloudy.
Sunday’s hike by the Carolina Mountain Club is a personal favorite: the 11.7-mile loop just outside of Hot Springs that takes the Round Top Ridge Trail up to Rich Mountain, then returns via the Appalachian Trail. The ascent is through a mature hardwood forest up to the lookout tower (open) atop Rich Mountain. Then, return via the AT through Tanyard Gap and Lover’s Leap Ridge, with especially swell views of the French Broad River and Hot Springs from the Lover’s Leap overlook. 11.7 miles of great hiking.
Logistics: Sunday, March 2, 8 a.m. (carpool meetup from Asheville). To sign up: Tish Desjardin at 828-380-1452, email@example.com. For more info on the hike, go here, or if you have a copy of “Backpacking North Carolina,” it’s Trip No. 26.
Sunday’s forecast: High of 66, partly sunny.
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Those are our thoughts for the weekend. Find out more options at the sources listed below.