This weekend: A unique trail, a trail run, a run downhill

The hike at Fort Fisher State Park Saturday is only a mile and a half, but it’s a well-appointed mile-and-a-half; there’s a rare introduction to the misunderstood pursuit of trail running along the Eno River Saturday afternoon; and on both Saturday and Sunday, those crazy videos of skateboarders bombing down twisty mountain roads comes to life at Mount Jefferson.

640.23178
Boardwalk on the Basin Trail.

Coast

At less than a mile in length, the Basin Trail at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area offers about as much bang for the hiking boot as any trail around. The park’s website says it best: “Fort Fisher provides a glimpse of the dynamic ecosystem known as a barrier spit where the only constant is change. Sixteen threatened and endangered species can be found at Fort Fisher depending on the time of year.”

From beach to maritime forest to Spartina salt marsh, there’s so much nature to appreciate. The trail is also rich in human history, passing a bunker built as park of Camp Davis in World War II and later adopted as home by the Fort Fisher Hermit. A worthy hike on several levels, a hike best enjoyed when lead by a knowledgeable ranger, which will be the case this Saturday.

Logistics: Saturday, April 18, 2 p.m., Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure Beach. For more information, call 910.458.5798.

Saturday forecast: High of 70, mostly sunny.

Piedmont

Learn the joy of trail running Saturday along the Eno River.
Learn the joy of trail running Saturday along the Eno River.

Trail running has a weird mystique about it. Runners accustomed to pavement think you daft when you wax about running through the woods on rocky, rooty, potentially-ankle-twisting terrain; hikers can’t understand why you’d want to go any faster. Logical arguments, granted.

And yet …

Those rocky, rooty trails with every foot-strike different are actually easier on your body and, provided you’re paying attention, less likely to result in injury. And by going that much faster, hikers, you get to see that much more of the forest. It makes sense. Really.

See for yourself Saturday afternoon at Eno River State Park when a park ranger hosts “Intro to Trail Running. Participants should have some experience either running or hiking, and be comfortable with a 12- to 15-minute per mile pace. The run will be on a mostly foot-friendly stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail downstream from the park’s Pleasant Green Access.

Logistics: Saturday, April 18, 3:30 p.m., Pleasant Green Access, Eno River State Park. For more info call 919.383.1686. Wear shoes good for running, bring water and a snack.

Saturday forecast: High of 75 with a chance of light rain.

Mountains

This likely falls into the “spectator” category for most of us, but hey, go, watch and who knows about next year?

NCDH @ Mount Jefferson

This weekend, on the twisty road down from Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, is the Downhill Skateboard Race @ Mount Jefferson. Contestants riding longboards will fly (not quite literally, but pert near) down the road at speeds of 40 mph or more. You’ve seen the videos, now see it live. To prepare for the event, we suggest you check out this profile of contestant Kevin Shelton in the Asheville Citizen-Times.  Shelton is 49.

And check out the video … .

Logistics: Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. More info here.

Weekend forecast: High of 74 with a chance of rain Saturday, high of 57 with a real good chance of rain Sunday.

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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 coastal 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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