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October: made for hiking

Some rue the passing of summer, some despair over the approach of winter. Others — hikers — revel in the fact it’s October. With cooling temperatures, generally sunny skies, dry air and the natural world in transition, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be on the trail. Early in the month, the change begins on mountain peaks above 5,000 feet. As the days progress, the palette of autumn…

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This weekend: Check the change

Fall has arrived, and you know what that means. Actually, it means two things (probably more, but for our purposes here we’ll stick with two): the hardwoods are starting to change color and the snow birds are changing locals as they relocate south. Both activities you won’t want to miss — and won’t have to thanks to various North Carolina State Parks programs this weekend. Coast You know fall has…

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90 Second Escape: Lower Haw River State Natural Area

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a…

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Carolina Thread Trail: an epic trail network in the making

The Carolina Thread Trail reflects the textile industry for which it is named: Currently, the 7-year-old project is a series of random and scattered threads of trail that, someday, will be woven into a 1,500-mile trail network draping a 15-county area with 2.3 million people. How long it will take to complete such an ambitious work is hard to say, says Carolina Thread Trail Executive Director Karl Froelich. But within…

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This weekend: A tri, a TACO, a wildlife education

Cross “sprint triathlon” off your 2014 list in Wilmington, Take a Child Outside at a state park, celebrate hunting and fishing with the family in the mountains: it’s another diverse weekend outdoors in North Carolina. Coast A triathlon isn’t something you’d ordinarily do on a lark, certainly not an Olympic length (0.9-mile swim, 25-mile bike and 6.2-mile run) or longer. A sprint tri, on the other hand … . Face…

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Sylvan Sleuths Explore, Explain Southern Forests

A few years back I was nearing the top of the Mount Mitchell Trail when I came across a group of youngsters intently examining the balsam firs that begin appearing above 5,500 feet. As they probed about, an older fellow explained what they were seeing. The gentleman had a professorial look; not surprising, I soon discovered, considering these were forestry students from N.C. State. I lurked in the shadows and…

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A reporting first

In more than two decades of writing about health, fitness and outdoor adventure, last night I did something I’ve never done before. I covered an activity without participating in it. The activity? Parkour. Parkour, as one of the dads at Enso Movement in North Raleigh told me, is a “young man’s game.” I’ll be writing about parkour in the next week or two for The News & Observer. For our…

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90 Second Escape: Neighborhood Wilderness

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a…

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Lake James: Emerging nexus of outdoor adventure

Scott Carpenter has a vision that may seem myopic at first. Hear him out, though, and your adventurous self can easily see what he’s talking about. Carpenter’s vision is this: Lake James, the 6,800-acre lake currently best known as the gateway to other adventurous places (Linville Gorge, Wilson Creek, the Pisgah National Forest) is the next Nantahala Outdoor Center, an all-encompassing outdoor playground that’s day-tripable from North Carolina’s major population…

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This weekend: A learning experience

A good time for adventure planning at the coast, a great time to get to know a creek in the Piedmont, and a hike that proves you don’t have to go that extra mile for great scenery in the mountains. Coast If you live in the Greenville area and bemoan the lack of organized outings in the region, take note of a new Meetup in the region: GetExploring! Greenville. Just…

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