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This weekend: Plunge into 2015 (then dry off and take a hike)

Start the year with a traditional polar plunge at the coast, then head to higher, drier and warmer ground for a hike. Coast We would be remiss if, in this New Year’s edition of Weekend Plans, we didn’t include at least one polar plunge, that peculiar tradition born in the north where we strip down to our skivvies and immerse ourselves in water that hasn’t frozen over — though in…

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90 Second Escape: Harper Creek/North Harper Creek WSA

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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90 Second Escape: North Carolina’s Classic Hikes

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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Give the Gift of North Carolina’s Classic Hikes in 2015

Plum out of ideas for the adventurous person in your life? How about the gift of North Carolina’s best hikes? In 2015, our GetHiking! program will launch a series of monthly hikes on the trails that no North Carolina hiker’s resume should be without: Linville Gorge, Shining Rock, Slickrock Wilderness, Black Mountain Crest Trail, the Great Smokies, Mountains-to-Sea Trail, The Appalachian Trail, Mount Mitchell Trail, Bartram Trail, Tanawha Trail, Panthertown…

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This weekend: Welcome, winter

Don’t let a lack of daylight (Sunday is the winter solstice, fyi) keep you from venturing out. In fact, a lack of daylight is the reason for getting out Sunday at DuPont State Recreational Forest. Coast Sometimes we head into the wild to free our minds, sometimes our goal is to fill it. Sometimes, you end up doing both. Saturday sounds like a prime opportunity for the latter at Dismal…

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90 Second Escape: Six-Foot Vis

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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The Uwharries: A guide book is reborn (and much bigger!)

When Don Childrey was a Boy Scout in Burlington in the 1970s, his Troop No. 73 frequently went backpacking in the Uwharrie Mountains. “I didn’t realize at the time what a big deal it was,” recalls Childrey. The big deal was that Asheboro area scout leader Joe Moffitt had grown weary of taking his troops to the mountains for their 50-mile backpacking badges. Shoot, we could do those here, he…

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This weekend: Trees, stars, rocks

A learning experience at the coast, stargazing in the Piedmont, and in the mountains, drawing inspiration from some true rock stars. Coast Can you tell an oak from a hickory, a beech from a boxelder? Maybe in summer, when a full canopy displays each tree’s distinctively shaped, tell-tale leaves. But in winter, when the leaves have vacated, identifying the dendrologic denizens of the forest can be more challenging. All the…

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Finding your way, when your way is buried in snow

Trail blazes painted on rocks are a necessity where there are no trees. And that’s fine — until those blazes are buried beneath a foot of snow. A freak early-season winter storm the first weekend in November that dumped up to 22 inches in the high country may have gotten the 2014-15 Southeast ski season off to a great start, but it presented a challenge to backpackers surprised by the…

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The sensible Alex Honnold

Now, some sensible advice from Alex Honnold. Alex Honnold!? The guy who climbed Yosemite’s Half Dome and Nose with no ropes, no protection at all!? Ironic, isn’t it, that the guy who seems to embrace danger like Pooh embraces honey, would be chock-a-block full of sensible thoughts. Yet last night at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre, Honnold, along with Sufferfest buddy Cedar Wright, entertained a standing-room-only house with tales of their two…

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