This weekend: Spring from winter

They look excited! Photo courtesy CarolinaBeachToday.com

The pending changing of the seasonal guard is evident this weekend. At the coast we have a sweaty 5K that ends with a bracing dip in the brisk Atlantic Ocean; in the Piedmont, the Eno River Association’s weekly Winter Hike Series is drawing to a close; and in the mountains there’s the opportunity to hike in snow — in 50-degree temperatures.

Coast

Imagine a 5K where a major shock awaits at the finish. And we’re not talking about glancing at the clock and seeing you’ve shaved a minute off your PR. We’re talking about suddenly finding yourself up to your waist in 45-degree water.

That’s the deal with Saturday’s Polar Plunge 5K at Carolina Beach. Run a 5K through town, finish in the Atlantic Ocean. The good news? The air temperature is supposed to approach 60 Saturday afternoon and the race starts at 2 p.m. The even better news: your frigid finish benefits Special Olympics of North Carolina, New Hanover County. (FYI, you can dispense with the run and go straight for the 45-degree water if you can’t wait.)

Logistics: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2 p.m., Carolina Beach Boardwalk. $50 race day (you also have the option of just doing the race and stopping short of the Atlantic, or $30, but who wants to do that?). More info here.

Saturday forecast: Partly sunny, high of 58.

Cable bridge crossing the Eno and connecting with the Cox Mountain Trail.

Piedmont

Time is running out to take advantage of the Eno River Association’s Winter Hike Series. Once a week on Sunday afternoons, from January into March, the ERA conducts a hike of a different section of the Eno River Valley. A knowledgeable naturalist leads each hike, shedding light on the wonders of the Eno.

The wonders being explored this Sunday are those on the Cox Mountain Trail in the Fews Ford Access of Eno River State Park.  The Cox Mountain Trail is just under four miles (tack on another mile to get there and back from the parking lot). The hike offers exceptional natural beauty along the Eno and remnants of the pre-park’s human past.

Logistics: Sunday, 2 p.m., Fews Ford Access of Eno River State Park. More info here.

Sunday forecast: High of 68, partly sunny.

Mountains

This weekend promises the best of both worlds for hiking in North Carolina’s high country: there’s still a fair amount of snow in the high country, yet the forecast is for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s.

All of which bodes well for the Carolina Mountain Club’s hike Saturday in the Pisgah National Forest north of Brevard. The CMC plans a 9-mile trek up Kagle Mountain that includes a portion of the Art Loeb Trail. High country hiking, some of which is on trail you may not be familiar with (but the hike leaders are). Lunch stop at the shelter at Butter Gap.

Logistics: Saturday, Feb. 22, 8:30 a.m.(carpool meeting time from Asheville). More info and to register: Vance Mann, 828.273.7592, hvancem@icloud.com; more info on the route, here.

Sunday forecast: Highs in the low 50s, partly sunny.

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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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