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This weekend: wildflowers, a wild ride, a ride into the wild

I know it’s just Tuesday, but what better time to start planning for the weekend ahead than while the memory of the weekend past is still fresh Coast Two great options at Dismal Swamp State Park this weekend. Saturday, it’s Bike to the Bull North Burn, an 8-mile round-trip bike ride to the site of last year’s Bull North Fire. There’s a 20-minute program at the site, followed by a…

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90 Second Escape: Pilot Mountain

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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What do you mean you can’t? Sure you can

Even before the talk began I realized I had a live one on the line. I was at the King Public Library Tuesday evening for a presentation on backpacking, a presentation  tied to my book, “Backpacking North Carolina.” On the surface, the book is a guide to 43 places to backpack in the state. But it’s true intent is to debunk the backpacking stereotype: of an arduous pursuit best left…

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This weekend: Run, ride, hike

A 5K/10K kicks off the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, there’s a ride with lunch in the Triangle and at the Nantahala Outdoor Center they’ll be celebrating hiking and long trails. A good cross-section of sweaty fun this weekend in North Carolina. Coast What better way to kick off a festival than with a run? This Saturday’s Azalea 5K/10K/Fun Walk, for example, which kicks off Wilmington’s annual Azalea Festival. (Kicks off…

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A rockin’ (spring) break

The three teenage girls sat on the stone steps at the Ledge Spring trailhead, parallel texting and oblivious. All wore sunglasses, all were elsewhere. Sensing my approach, one leaned slightly, thumbs continuing to hammer her tiny keyboard. I managed to squeeze by. At least they’re outside, I thought, trying to put some positive spin on the scene yesterday afternoon at Pilot Mountain State Park. Less than a mile down the…

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Wilmington’s Cross-City Trail offers a greenway to the beach

Driving to Wrightsville Beach Friday I glanced to my right and saw an older fellow pedaling a beach cruiser. He was on a greenway paralleling Eastwood Road, which you may not think you know, but if you’ve ever driven to Wrightsville Beach, its the road that takes you across the drawbridge into the heart of WB. The man was riding in front of what looked like an upscale retirement community,…

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90 Second Escape: First Dip of the Season

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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Vote (if you’re eligible) for better courts

A dream when I was younger was to have a house with a basketball court in the basement. A full-size court, with a knee-friendly synthetic surface. With backboards that dropped to dunk-friendly heights for an Earth-bound 5’9” guard. Throw in my vintage red, white and blue ABA ball, my knee-high tube socks and my Converse All-Stars … . Heaven, I’m in heaven … At present, we have a portable rim…

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Look out! A busy weekend is headed your way

Hunt for eggs, learn to paddle, dodge a ball: Do it all this weekend in North Carolina. Coast Have the kids been pestering you to go to the beach? Have you been protesting that the water’s too cold? Compromise, fellow parents, by offering up a trip to the coast to hunt for Easter eggs. Emerald Isle kicks off the EE hunting season Sunday at high noon with an EEE (Easter…

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Blue Ridge Parkway: Opening for business

I’ve been spending a lot of time along the Blue Ridge Parkway of late, exploring the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. I’d be spending even more time if the Parkway facilities, specifically the campgrounds, were open. Which they soon will be. The National Park Service has announced 2012 opening dates for their seasonal facilities along the Parkway. I’m finding them useful for trip planning, figured you might, too. Here are some key locations…

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