This weekend’s offerings are proof that adventure in North Carolina knows no seasons.
Every once in a while, the Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge opens its roads allowing the public in to better explore this 8,219-acre refuge in Currituck County. To explore its low-lying freshwater and brackish marshes, it’s upland and lowland eastern pine hardwood forests. And this time of year, to be treated to a variety of migrating waterfowl (including snow geese and Canada geese) in addition to year-round residents such as the bald eagle and osprey.
This weekend’s theme for action: Water, in its various forms.
At first blush (a blush suggestive of hypothermia?), the notion of taking a 4-hour kayak trip in 30-degree weather might seem daft. But then, this particular trip is on Belews Lake, which the sponsoring Piedmont Environmental Center notes, “being a power plant lake [Duke Energy] where water is used to cool energy-producing turbines, the heated water … is much warmer than ambient air temperatures. The result is a three-foot deep blanket of warm air — perfect for the kayaker!”
Wayfinding, warm water kayaking, winging your way down a mountain — it’s all happening in North Carolina this weekend.
Sometimes luring the recalcitrant into the outdoors is simply a matter of offering the right bait. A mere walk in a cold forest may not appeal to someone more involved in cerebral pursuits, but throw in a map, a compass and the opportunity to calculate your way over hill and dale and suddenly a hike doesn’t seem so bad. Sunday at 2 p.m. just such an opportunity will be offered at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park near Goldsboro, when a park ranger leads a beginner course in map reading and using the compass. (If you have a compass, bring it; otherwise, the park has some spares you can use.) It’s free and should last about an hour and a half.
Explore the outdoors, discover yourself.