Your weekend: Hike the coast, clean a lake, ride the mountains

Looking for motivation to get your youngsters outside? How about a meat-eating plant! Meanwhile, there’s a lake in the Triangle that could use your TLC, and a ride in the mountains that promises to be just plain fun.

Also: Next Wednesday, April 6, is National Walking Day, sponsored by the American Heart Association. Learn more here.

Coast

Feed me! (Photo courtesy WUNC.org)
Feed me! (Photo courtesy WUNC.org)

What motivates us to be active is an individual thing. Some folks are motivated by their genes: a family history of heart disease is sometimes the prod needed to lead an aerobic — and thus, hopefully longer — lifestyle. Some are motivated by their jeans: These skinny straightlegs would be a lot more comfortable if I lost a few pounds.

A lot of the folks we know are motivated by nature, by the need to get out and explore. By the chance to see the unusual, to experience first-hand something not everyone else can or will. That’s why we’re drawn to Saturday’s Flytrap Family Fun Day at Carolina Beach State Park. After a presentation on the curious carnivorous plant at the Visitor Center, there’s a hike to to where the Venus flytrap flourishes and a chance to see the plant in action.  A short hike that pays off four your child in such an unusual display today could launch a lifetime of outdoor adventure in search of nature’s menagerie of other unique occurrences.

Vital Stats: Flytrap Family Fun Day, Saturday, April 2, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 72 with a chance of thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: Oak Island Lighthouse Run, half marathon, 10K, 5K, 1-mile fun run; April 16, Southport. More info here.

Piedmont

Trash along the MST at Falls Lake - Randy Jones photographerInto each life, some rain must fall. And sometimes, when the rain is heavy, it acts as a big broom, sweeping up everything in its path that isn’t anchored and dumping it, often, in a lake. In the case of a big chunk of the Triangle, Falls Lake.

And a lot of rain fell, heavy at times, this winter, leaving the banks of Falls Lake with a bathtub ring of cans, tires, balls and styrofoam, to name but a smidgen of the detritus. It’s both unsightly and, in the case of a water supply such as Falls Lake, unhealthy. Which is why you should join the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail Saturday as they hope to collect 400 trash bags of stuff along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail portion of Falls Lake. As added incentive, some of the stuff that washes up can be quite interesting … .

Intrigued, aren’t you? See below for details.

Vital Stats: Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail Falls Lake Spring Cleaning, Saturday, 9 a.m. Meet at the Upper Barton Creek Boat Ramp off Six Forks Road just south of NC 98. For more information and to sign up, contact FMST Volunteer Leader Jeff Brewer at jdbrewer104@gmail.com.

Saturday forecast: High of 66 with a chance of rain.

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Looking ahead: Eagle Count, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, Apex, Sunday, April 10. More info here.

Mountains

Photo courtesy marionncguide.com
Photo courtesy marionncguide.com

The beauty of an early season event ride in the mountains is that you have no expectations: no overwhelming compulsion to place in your age category, no internal drive for a PR … heck, you’ll be happy just to finish. And, for you more competitive types, an early season ride is one you can actually and enjoy and take in the scenery.

You can have that early-season experience Saturday on the Tour De Lure, a “ a scenic yet hilly 71-mile route with 5600’ of total ascent [that] … winds through scenic farmland in McDowell County, climbs up Stone Mountain, passes through Chimney Rock and around beautiful Lake Lure, and finally heads back into McDowell County via the Assault on Mt. Mitchell route.”

In fact, you can be so laid back that you opt for the early-season-friendlier 23-mile Corpening YMCA Fun Bike Ride.

Vital Stats: Ture De Lure, bike rides of 71 and 23 miles, Saturday, April 2, Lake Lure., $60 on-site registration. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 66, mostly sunny.

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Looking ahead: Grandfather Mountain State Park Spring Wildflower Hikes, starting this Friday and running through June 12. Find a schedule here.

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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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