This weekend: Go with the snow

Planning for the weekend is good. Foremost, it gives you something to pull you through those long mid-week meetings at the Widgetworks.
Sometimes, though, you can only have a rough plan. When the forecast calls for anywhere from 3 to 6 to 8 to 12 inches of snow. Or maybe rain. Or maybe something in between. In such cases, the best you can do is prepare for the somewhat more likely possibilities.
With the weather in mind, we don’t give you specific ideas of what to do and where to go this week. Rather, we throw out some options and a thought or two on how you can prepare, and let you go from there.

Coast

Neusiok Trail
Neusiok Trail

At the coast this weekend we’re looking at temperatures in the upper 40s on Saturday, possibly hitting 60 on Sunday, under mostly sunny skies. Looking a little further ahead, we see a high of 71 forecast for Wilmington on Tuesday. Is warm weather really on the horizon? If so, it might behoove you to get in a hike while the weather remains on the cool side (suppressing the bug and serpent populations) yand the sun appears to be a reliable companion.

Logistics: Lots of great hikes at the coast. We recommend the trail networks at Carolina Beach and Goose Creek state parks, the 20-mile Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest mid-coast, and while this is in Virginia, it’s just barely: the extensive ditch trail network in the Great Dismal Swamp.

Weekend forecast: High in the upper 40s Saturday, near 60 Sunday (at least in the Wilmington area).

Umstead State Park
Umstead State Park

Piedmont

Two, four, six, eight,

How much snow do we anticipate?

The dart boards for our regional meteorologists have been especially ellusive this week. Tuesday’s snow overstayed its expected welcome by four hours, and it’s anybody’s guess what tonight holds in store. Tonight’s expectation has been narrowing, however: it’s more likely that we will see snow as opposed to other forms of wetness, and, again based on a forecast that presumably becomes more reliable as zero hour nears, there will be a fair amount of it (Two? Four? Six? Eight?) Couple that with forecast highs in the 30s for the next few days and whatever falls will likely stick around for a while.

Read a good book this weekend? you’re guessing. Nope, embrace a rare local opportunity to hike in the snow. The trails should be snowpacked with a minimal amount of overnight melt, meaning a good pair of hiking boots with new tread should be sufficiently grippy. If you’re concerned, swing by our favorite outfitter and pick up a pair of Yaktrax. Your biggest challenge: getting to the trailhead.

Logistics: Hard to say how North Carolina’s State Parks will fare after this storm. However, for the past two weeks they’ve done a great job of opening as quickly as possible after our numerous weather events. And, they’ve done a good job of keeping folks up on the latest at their website, NCParks.gov.

Weekend forecast: Highs in the upper 30s to 40, with rain possible Sunday.

The Blue Ridge Parkway: closed for cars, open for cross-country.
The Blue Ridge Parkway: closed for cars, open for cross-country.

Mountains

The mountains are getting snow, too. Between the real stuff and temperatures consistently cold enough to make snow, downhill skiing is an obvious choice. But a half foot or more of natural snowfall means cross-country skiing is a possibility. Didn’t know you could do that in North Carolina? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Logistics: Learn everything you need to know about cross-country skiing, including where to go and where you can rent skis, at our GetGoingNC Guide to NC Cross-Country Skiing. Should you opt for the downhill variety, consult SkiSoutheast.com for regional conditions.

Weekend forecast: Saturday is your day to go, with temperatures remaining in the 30s and sunshine.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

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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