Finally, some fall-like weather! The weather unpleasantness that blew through late in the week has been replaced by seasonable temperatures. Meaning if you head out for a hike early Saturday, you better be packing fleece — it could be in the upper 40s.
The passage of Labor Day means the crowds are starting to thin from the coast, making it safe to go back in the water. Meanwhile, while the calendar may say fall is officially a couple weeks off, Labor Day signals, to us, the start of the fall hiking season. We’ve got great options for the latter in both the Piedmont and mountains.
This weekend, enjoy a feast of North Carolina adventure, with a guided paddle at the coast (in a salt marsh at Hammocks Beach State Park), a wildflower-themed hike in the Piedmont (at the Triangle Land Conservancy’s Horton Grove Nature Preserve), or all things mountain at one of the first mountain festivals of the season (at Elks Knob State Park).
There’s something almost mystical about exploring northern Durham County. Perhaps it has something to do with the “forbidden fruit” thing.
There’s not a whole lot of public land in this northernmost reach of the Triangle. Until 2004, the lone option was the 2,450-acre Hill Demonstration Forest operated by N.C. State University. While yes, technically, it is public, the mention of recreational permits to visit always put something of a damper on a spontaneous drop-in. Then, in 2004, the 391-acre Little River Regional Park opened. With 7 miles of hiking and 7 miles of separate mountain biking trail, it was a welcome addition to the Triangle’s outdoor scene. Yet it was essentially the lone northern Durham option.
Statewide, and especially at the coast, there’s a good workout to be had as part of NC Big Sweep. Meanwhile, a new trail opens in the Piedmont and on Saturday you needn’t be a 737 to fly down the runway at Asheville Regional Airport.
As we discovered this past weekend in the yard, there is perhaps no greater workout than trying to tidy up the outside world. Which is why if you’re looking for a heckuva workout this weekend, you need look no further than your local NC Big Sweep event. Yes, it’s that time, the first Saturday of October, when volunteers in all 100 North Carolina counties will gather to clean up their local waterways. While the events are held statewide, they seem to be especially popular along the coast. In Brunswick County alone, cleanups are scheduled in a dozen locations. To find out what’s going on near you, see Logistics, below.