Saturday is National Trails Day, a time when we pay homage to the more than 200,000 miles of recreational pathways across the land that deliver us from the challenges of day-to-day life. Be it a foot path, a bike path, a canoe trail or a horse trail, events nationwide will give us a chance to either celebrate our trails by using them, or honor them by sprucing ’em up.
What is there not to love about this time of year? Weekend temperatures across the state will range from the mid-70s at the coast to the low 60s in the mountains, fall is exhibiting varying degrees of color throughout, and the entire state will be under sunny skies. Great for a paddle, a hike, competitive mountain biking and more.
Share backcountry cooking tips at Cliffs of the Neuse, run a half marathon at South Mountains, have a rad time on the slopes at Beech Mountain: they’re all options this weekend in North Carolina.
Joe Jacob, owner of Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. and longtime guide, once confided to us that the success of any trip he ran hinged on one thing: good food. It’s true. You can have a miserable day on the trail, but all is quickly forgotten if a feast awaits at trail’s end. Which is why we recommend Saturday’s Outdoor Cooking Potluck at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park near Goldsboro. Says the program description: “Show off your outdoor cooking skills! A Ranger will prepare a meal as well.” Sounds like a great way to pick up some campground cooking tips.
Whenever we get wind of snow in accumulations of five inches or more in the mountains and Piedmont, we trot out our handy cross-country ski guide. For those of you who have skis, you’ll find some of the best spots to cross-country ski in the mountains. And for those of you who don’t, it will help you find out where to get some. Here’s hoping the prediction of up to 12 inches comes true.
This weekend, avoid alligators, avoid trails, but don’t avoid the first big weekend of the Southeast ski season.
Remember the old Peter, Paul & Mary hit, “Where Have All the Reptiles Gone?” No, wait. That wasn’t PP&M in the 1960s. That’s Lake Waccamaw State Park this Sunday at 2 p.m., when a ranger explains why the park’s alligators are no longer on the prowl, why the turtles aren’t out catching some rays … basically why the entire reptile population is laying low. A great opportunity to learn a little something, then take a long (Lakeshore Trail, 5 miles) or short (Sand Ridge Trail, 0.75 mile) hike to look for the reptiles that aren’t supposed to be there.