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90 Second Escape: The climbing gym (seeking solace on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon)

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 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 fluorescent bulb. Today’s…

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This weekend: Plunge, scope, run

It’s another diverse weekend in North Carolina: Take a preseason plunge into the chilly Atlantic, run up a quartzite monadnock, or spy on your feathered friends (in the name of science). Coast Here’s a good opportunity to see just how sturdy your cardio is: The 8th Annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge Saturday at Carolina Beach. Picture yourself at the Le Mans-style start, you in your fetching bathing suit making  a…

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Get Inspired. Give KIP a buck

Giving money to a good cause is good. Giving someone else’s money to a good cause is even better. The good cause: Kids in Parks, an initiative by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and the Blue Ridge Parkway to get kids and families outside more. (I know, every time I read that — or write it — I think, “Why do we even need to think of ways to get…

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Meetup, get out

Raleigh Recreational Hikers hit the trail. Last week, I wrote about finding enlightenment through a race report filed by fellow Uwharrie Mountain Runner Charles West. After doing the UMR’s 40-mile version (I did the 20), he shared 11 things he learned from the race. Most were about performance, about nutrition, gear, tactics. I was most struck by point No. 11: “The Uwharrie National Forest on a cloudy, foggy, rainy, overcast…

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90 Second Escape: Standup Paddleboarding

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 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 fluorescent bulb. Today’s…

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North Carolina’s unsung Rails-to-Trails escapes

I love a good trail, and while I’m familiar with a lot of traditional hiking trails in North Carolina (see “Backpacking North Carolina” and “100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina”) I’m less familiar with the state’s rails-to-trail’s projects. I realized this in December when, on a 50-mile backpack trip of the North Carolina Bartram Trail, I suddenly found myself on a 1.2-mile stretch of paved greenway along the Nantahala River….

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A race, a report

In my life as a guidebook writer, I frequently find myself returning from a scouting expedition and conducting a topopsy. That is, I get out the appropriate topographic map for where I’d been and try to figure where and how I got lost. It’s a helpful exercise. It sheds light on how I might help others avoid making the same mistake. And, to a lesser degree it turns out, helps…

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This weekend: Look for spring, Run for Roses, hike in … snow?

North Carolina’s diversity shows this weekend. At the coast, you can look for signs of spring, in the Piedmont you can run a venerable 5K and in the mountains, you can take a hike — possibly in the snow! Coast This is about the time the natural world starts to awaken from its cold winter nap — or as much of a nap as you can work in with temperatures…

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90 Second Escape: Uwharrie Mountain Run

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 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 fluorescent bulb. Today’s…

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Competitive spirit: No regrets

“I’m thinking about doing Georgia this year,” Alan said midway through our weekly 18-mile mountain bike ride at Umstead early yesterday morning. He said it wistfully, and punctuated it with a sigh. The mention of Georgia a month into the new year was a trial balloon of sorts for Alan. Not so much to gauge my reaction; rather, for him to think out loud about what Georgia really meant. “Georgia”…

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