This weekend: A hike before the hectic holidays

Face it, after this weekend you’ll be hard-pressed to find time to get out and release your stress; once the holidays hit, your time will be spoken for. That said, here are three opportunities for pre-holiday adventure that you shouldn’t pass up.

Coast

GooseCreekLast weekend, our GetHiking! Triangle group explored Goose Creek State Park. Few had previously visited the 1,208-acre park on the north bank of the Pamlico River downstream from Little Washington. Many hadn’t even heard of the park. But all came away big fans.

Hence, our recommendation for Saturday’s Live Oak and Huckleberry Trail Hike at Goose Creek. The hike will explore two of the park’s ecosystems: a Live Oak river community and a pine woods savannah. Coastal hiking is at its best on a clear, cool late fall day, which is in the cards for Saturday (see below).

Logistics: Saturday, Nov. 22, 2 p.m., Goose Creek State Park, Washington. For more info, call 252.923.2191.

Saturday forecast: Sunny skies, high of 52.

Piedmont

It's hard to take a wrong turn on the MST along the Eno River.

We’re entering the season of, ‘tis better to give than receive. What’s best, though, is to give and receive, which is what will happen if you take part in Umstead State Park’s Can You Dig It? volunteer workday. Show up with sturdy boots, work gloves, water and the will to work hard for two hours and you can help improve the quality of Umstead’s over-loved trails.

No special skills required, just the ability to take direction and, again, work hard.

Logistics: Saturday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m., Harrison Avenue/Reedy Creek entrance (off I-40) to Umstead State Park, Raleigh. Reservations are required, by calling 919.571.4170.

Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny, high of 52.

Mountains

AT.RichHere’s a hike you probably haven’t done but should: the Appalachian Trail north of Hot Springs. The climb up Lovers Leap Ridge offers repeated views of the French Broad River and Hot Springs below. Then, the way the Carolina Mountain Club plans to hike it on Sunday, interconnecting trails will provide more intimate streamside hiking.

And there’s the apres hike in Hot Springs, one of the classic AT trail towns. Be sure to include a visit to Bluff Mountain Outfitters,  where you can score just about everything a hiker could need — and more importantly, want.

Logistics: Sunday, Nov. 23, 8:30 a.m., Appalachian Trail, Hot Springs. For specifics on meeting time and location, contact Paul Benson at 828.251.1909 or pdbenson@charter.net.

Sunday forecast: High of 55, 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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