When I first started writing about fitness and the outdoors back in the early 1990s, there were a handful of ways you could welcome the New Year in most communities. There was usually a 5K run, a bike shop sponsored a casual ride, canoe clubs held members-only paddles, there was a hike or two, and some oddball group was jumping into a local lake (and jumping right back out again). You had options for welcoming the new year, but not a lot.
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.
Flesh-eating plants at the coast, the perfect three that vanished in the Piedmont, fall color in the mountains. Take your pick.
Are we recommending this weekend’s back-to-back Carnivorous Plant Hikes just so we can use a picture of Seymour’s carnivorous creation?
Sunday, Marcy and I headed over to Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary after roadside flashes of sourwood red and dogwood peach suggested the fall color show was just getting underway. Roadside trees — stressed by the heat of automotive exhaust — are often the first to show their chromatic hand. When they start to go, we grab the camera and head for woods.
It’s one of the cheapest recreation deals going: for as little as $5 an hour you can captain your own ship on any number of waterways throughout North Carolina. These bargain basement deals are offered at various county, municipal and state parks throughout the state.