I’ve been following the schizophrenic Christmas weather forecasts as closely as anyone. In part, because I love a white Christmas and haven’t seen one since the Denver blizzard of ’82. I’m also keeping a close watch to see whether I should dig out the cross-country skis (in the event of 6 inches or more), the sled (a minimum of 3 inches), or the hiking boots (a photogenic dusting).
Wings Over Water, feet on cliff faces, heads in the sky and gorgeous fall weather. What better reasons for getting out this weekend?
If you’ve ever needed incentive to get outdoors, Wings Over Water is it. The appropriately acronymed “WOW,” in its 14th year, is a six-day celebration of the wildlife and natural history (as well as human history as it relates to the natural world) of Eastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks. Beginning this past Tuesday and running through Sunday, more than 100 guided programs are offered covering just about every element of the natural world in this surprisingly wild oasis on the eastern seaboard. Saturday alone, there are birding programs at Bodie Island, South Pond, Old Oregon Inlet, Cape Hatteras and Portsmouth Island; a tour exploring the natural and human history of Portsmouth Island village; digital photography workshops; an owl prowl; a sunset canoe tour of the Alligator River; and a night tram tour of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Cool weather returns to North Carolina this weekend, making for good hiking at the coast and the mountains, with frightfully fun running in between.
Mid- to late fall, in my humble opinion the best time to explore the coast. Temperatures have dropped enough that bugs — and snakes! — are less of a problem, yet they haven’t dropped enough to seriously affect the greenery. Lots to see, fewer things to distract you from seeing them. That’s why our pick for the coast this weekend is the Biological Wonderland hike at Carolina Beach State Park. Carolina Beach has a diverse plant community, from its pine savannas to its carnivorous plants. Let an in-the-know park ranger fill you in on this Saturday morning hike that leaves from the nature trail parking lot at 10 a.m.