This weekend: Fall for the autumnal outdoors

Tranter's Creek, near the put-in.
Tranter’s Creek, near the put-in.

What is there not to love about this time of year? Weekend temperatures across the state will range from the mid-70s at the coast to the low 60s in the mountains, fall is exhibiting varying degrees of color throughout, and the entire state will be under sunny skies. Great for a paddle, a hike, competitive mountain biking and more.

Coast

Our GetExploring! Greenville affiliate has the perfect idea for a sunny, 70-degree Sunday afternoon: go for a paddle.

Sunday at 1, the triple-guided trip (in the lead, in the middle, in the rear) will put in at the Tranter’s Creek Wildlife Resources Commission boat ramp just west of Little Washington. They’ll hang a left, then paddle to where Tranter’s convenes with the Tar River to form the Pamlico. From there, the group will explore the various islands (including the famous The Castle) across from the Washington waterfront — and the waterfront as well. An estimated 8 miles of paddling, about three to four hours on the water.

And don’t let the lack of a boat deter you: call ahead and GetExploring Greenville’s sponsor, Great Outdoor Provision Co., can hook you up with a rental kayak.

Logistics: Sunday, 1 p.m., Tranter’s Creek boat ramp in Little Washington. Learn more about the trip and how to rent a kayak at the GetExploring! Greenville Meetup site.

Sunday forecast: Sunny, high of 73.

Fall atop the Pinnacle at Crowder's Mountain. Photo courtesy N.C. State Parks.
Fall atop the Pinnacle at Crowder’s Mountain. Photo courtesy N.C. State Parks.

Piedmont

Fall color is descending upon the Piedmont, and one of the best places to catch the show is at your local state park. You can simply go to the NC State Parks website, find the park nearest you, and take yourself on a self-propelled excursion. Or, you can tag along on a fall color-specific guided hike

Several are planned systemwide this weekend, starting with this evening’s Pinnacle Sunset Hike at Crowder’s Mountain State Park west of Charlotte. From the Visitor Center, this hike will head two miles to the Pinnacle, which offers 360-degree views of the surrounding color-drenched countryside, all the more illuminating in the waning hours of day.

Logistics: For information on tonight’s Pinnacle Sunset Hike as well well as other guided hikes in the state park system this weekend, go here.

Weekend forecast: Sunny and in the 70s, pretty much throughout the Piedmont.

Dual slalom at last year's Collegiate Nationals at Beech Mountain. Photo by Weldon Weaver.
Dual slalom at last year’s Collegiate Nationals at Beech Mountain. Photo by Weldon Weaver.

Mountains

We take so much from our outdoor experiences; from time to time, it’s nice to give something back. Especially if you’re a mountain biker, this weekend is a great opportunity to give back, by volunteering at the Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals this weekend at Beech Mountain.

350 student riders from more than 50 colleges and universities will complete; that’s a lot of competitors and a lot of wranglers needed to help pull off the event, from course marshals to folks to help with registration and course set-up and breakdown. Plus, it’s a chance to see some of the best young riders in the country in action.

Logistics: To help, check with volunteer coordinator: Tracy Simms at mtbvolunteers@yahoo.com or 828.387.2011, ext. 205. For more information on the race, go here.

Weekend forecast: Sunny, high in the low 60s.

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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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