Your weekend: Get going into the holidays

Your weekend forecast: Clear skies and an abundance to look forward to before the Holiday Season. With a multitude of options, here are a few we are especially eyeing.

Coast

16270-347086-1a0a543d_fIt's the last trip this season, a leisurely cruise through the marshes adjacent to Hammocks Beach State Park, that is. What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than on the water? There’s an undeniable serenity when on the water and if that's something you haven't experienced in a while, this Saturday is your chance.

As if an experience on the water needed more, your captain on this trip is there to talk as little or as much as you want about the ecosystems, wildlife and the cultural history of the North Carolina coast.

Logistics: Marsh Cruises for a Cause, Saturday, Nov.19, 1-3 p.m in the evening, Hammocks Beach State Park, $10. Find out more and register here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny skies, high of 72.

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Looking ahead: Biological Wonderland Hike, Nov. 26, at 2 p.m., Carolina Beach State Park. More info here

Piedmont 

600_444701625Bare with me, I read this the other day: "Your deepest roots are in nature. No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation." Charles Cook eloquently depicts the perspective nature's beauty brings one when surrounded by it.

Keeping in touch with those roots can be as simple as trekking around Pilot Mountain. Saturday afternoon is the perfect time to be reminded of how much beauty fall brings, while hiking 6 miles and learning about the park’s history. That's right, along the way your friendly park ranger fills you in on the uniqueness and history of the area and might even be able to give you the names to the trees in for your Facebook/ Instagram photo.

And we all know, people love to give “Likes” for pictures in nature!

Logistics: 100 Mile Challenge- Mountain Trail Hike, Saturday, Nov.19, 1-4 p.m., Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle. More info here. 

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 65.

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Looking ahead: Gratitude Hike, Nov. 23, 10:00 a.m., Charlotte. More info here

Mountains 

797-smokey-bearAs of midweek, 10 forest forest were burning throughout western North Carolina, consuming more than 44,000 acres. South Mountains and Chimney Rock state parks were both battling fires, while nearly all of the other state parks in the western part of the state are also closed, their personnel dispatched to help battle the South Mountains and Chimney Rock fires. And what isn't being consumed by fire in the western part of the state is enveloped in smoke, a dangerous smoke that makes breathing a challenge for some.

All of which is to say if you are planning a mountain excursion this weekend, be very cautious about where you go and what you do. Your best bet is to head for the northern mountains, basically Grandfather Mountain (which is open) and north. We suggest you check the calendars listed under the "Mountains" section below to see what activities are still on, and what areas are open.

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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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