This weekend: Walk/Run/Bike (and Hike/Paddle)

photo courtesy wrightsvillebeach.com

Mostly sunny with highs in the upper 70s — that’s the statewide forecast for this weekend.
Our forecast? You’ll be out making the most of it.

Coast

You’ve got some paddling experience under your belt, on lakes, maybe a local river or two with a minimal current. You like the idea of paddling bigger water — the sounds and inlets — and while you’re confident in your skills, you’d still feel more comfortable in a group, with folks who’ve been there before and know what they’re doing.

If that describes you — and even if it doesn’t — check out Saturday’s Sunset Paddle to the Masonboro Island Reserve sponsored by the N.C. Coastal Reserve. The 3.2-mile paddle, starting from Trail’s End in Wilmington, will explore the Big Bay area of the reserve and be led by Hope Sutton, Southern Sites Manager and Stewardship Coordinator, and Robert Smith, an American Canoe Association Coastal Kayaking Open Water Instructor with Watersmith Kayaking. A good trip for any paddler, but especially for newbies.

Logistics: Saturday, April 12, 5 p.m., Trail’s End Park, Wilmington. Free. A limited number of kayaks are available for rental from Watersmith Kayaking. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 79, mostly sunny.

Mr. Umstead Rod Broadbelt raises money for the Umstead Coalition through the "walk" portion of the Walk/Run/Bike fundraiser.

Piedmont

Among the many great things about Umstead State Park in the heart of the Triangle are the many  great things you can do there: you can run on the 13 miles of bridle trail and 20 miles of hiking trail, you can walk on the same, and you can bike on the bridle trail. Which may be why the park’s friends group, the Umstead Coalition, calls its annual park celebration the Walk/Run/Bike for Umstead.

This year’s event, on Saturday, includes a four-mile foot race/walk and guided bike tours. There’s also food and plenty of live music, from the likes of Bett Padgett and Nixon, Blevins and Gage. Lots of stuff for the kids to do as well.

Logistics: Saturday, April 12, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Umstead State Park, Raleigh. Admission “Basic fee” is $20 for kids $40 for adults, $35 for 65 and up. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 79, mostly sunny.

photo courtesy smokyscout.blogspot.com

Mountains

There are the places you know about. And there are the places you don’t know about.

That’s especially true when it comes to hiking trails. And that’s why we’re especially grateful for the Carolina Mountain Club, which knows about these little-known gems and is willing to take us to them. Saturday, for instance, CMC will lead a seven-mile hike at the Florence Nature Preserve on the west end of the Hickory Nut Gorge region southeast of Asheville. The 600-acre preserve offers some of the best exploring in the gorge — provided you can find it.

Logistics: Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m., Florence Nature Preserve. More info and to sign up, here.

Saturday forecast: High of 78, mostly 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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