Tag Archives: Mount Jefferson

GetOut! Your Friday Nudge for Weekend Adventure

It’s been cool most of the week throughout our blogging area, and it will be cool again at least on Saturday, making this the perfect summer weekend to get in a hike.

Mount Jefferson Downhill Skateboarding Event, Saturday and Sunday, starts at 9 a.m. both days, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. Scratching your head, are you? Here’s the deal: The 1.6-mile road to the summit of 4,683-foot Mount Jefferson will be closed to vehicles both days to accommodate the mountain’s annual downhill skateboard race. Yup, youngsters on skateboards — more than 100 of ‘em — will skateboard down the mountain, dropping more than 700 vertical feet along the way. However, there will be shuttle service to the top of the mountain: park at the Lowe’s in West Jefferson and take a shuttle to the top, where you can hike the park’s 5 miles of trail. And you can check out the race as well. (FYI, one of the sponsors for the race, the Ian Tilmann Foundation, will be giving helmets to the first 100 kids who sign a pledge to wear a helmet while skateboarding.) Learn more about the race here and hiking at Mount Jefferson here. read more

Getout! Your Nudge to Get Out This Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend: spiritually, what more incentive do you need to get out and explore? To wit, some quick recommendations for weekend fun:

=&0=&, Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. The first weekend of every month, Hanging Rock and the Friends of Sauartown Mountains open the trail network at the park’s Vade Mecum addition. The 716-acre former Camp Sertoma 4-H Educational Center, with miles of trail, was added to the park in 2014. Learn more and sign up here.

=&1=&, Sunday, 10:15 a.m., Hammocks Beach State Park, Swansboro. If you’re spending Labor Day weekend in the Crystal Coast area, head over to Swansboro Sunday morning and hike the dunes of a barrier island with a ranger. Learn more and sign up here.

=&2=&, Monday, 11 a.m., Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. Another opportunity (see Vade Mecum) to explore new terrain at a North Carolina State Park. Says the program description: “We will start at the park office and drive to the newest park access. Once there, we will begin a relaxing saunter through a kaleidoscope of wildflowers and butterflies. Bring your cameras and wildflower books. Learn more and sign up here.

You can find more opportunities this Labor Day weekend here:

  • North Carolina State Parks have a variety of adventures planned for the weekend. Check those options here.
  • North Carolina Environmental Education Centers has an extensive calendar of what’s happening at its affiliates; check it out here.
  • You can also find more adventures right here, at GetGoingNC.com.

And learn more about where we spent last weekend, featured in the video, by visiting the web sites for Little River Regional Park and

Eno River State Park read more

GetOut! Your Nudge to get out this weekend

Yeah, it’s still hot. But over the past couple of weeks we’ve had delightful dalliances with low humidity. Low meaning less than 50 percent, but low enough to put a little bounce in your step. This weekend, we hope to help you get the most of that bounce with a suggestion or two on what you can do.

Night Hike Adventure, Saturday, 8:30 p.m. Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. Hike at night: that’s something you typically can’t do (legally, at least) in a state park. Saturday is the exception, when a ranger takes you on a tour of the trails atop Mount Jefferson. Sans clouds you’ll see the day’s fading light on some of the Southeast’s most notable peaks. Bring a flashlight for the times you’ll be hiking and not gawking. More into and register here.

Canoe the Mayo, Saturday, 10 a.m. Mayo River State Park, Mayodan. Paddling a river can be a bit of a production even if you have a boat, costly if you don’t. Just one reason we like this periodic paddle trip at Mayo River State Park. The Mayo is a fairly intimate river that’ll you get to spend 4 to 5 hours on (depending upon water levels). Free, put you will need to make your own arrangements to get back to your car at the put-in. More info and register here.

Bike to the Burn, Sunday, 9:30 a.m. Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills. Notice this this is called Bike to the Burn, not Bike ’til you Burn, the key distinction is this won’t be like that spin class you tried at the gym a couple years back. Rather, you’ll pedal with Ranger Joe out to the site of the swamp’s last wildfire (a wildfire in a swamp — that alone is incentive to attend). About 17 miles total, with no one screaming at you to climb out of the saddle and PUSH! No bike, no problem; you can borrow one. More info and register here.

You can also join our GetHiking! group on a pair of hikes this weekend:

=&3=&, Saturday, 9 a.m., Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake. 5 miles. We hike a section of the MST we haven’t hiked in a while, the 5-mile run from Cheek Road east to just past Little Lick Creek. Not as hilly as much of the MST along Falls Lake, and a tight-wire crossing of Little Lick Creek. An easy to moderate hike, depending upon how much you’ve been hiking. More info and register here.

=&4=& Sunday, 10 a.m., Confluence Natural Area, Hillsborough. Earlier this year, the Eno River Association opened the Confluence Natural Area, a 200-acre preserve at the confluence of the East and West branches of the Eno River in Orange County. We’ll hike two mellow miles and get to know this new preserve. More info and register here.

You can find more opportunities this weekend here:

  • North Carolina State Parks have a variety of adventures planned for the weekend. Check those options here.
  • North Carolina Environmental Education Centers has an extensive calendar of what’s happening at its affiliates; check it out here.
  • You can also find more adventures right here, at GetGoingNC.com.

And learn more about where we spent last weekend, featured in the video, by visiting the web sites for Little River Regional Park and =&9=&

This weekend: Yet another great weekend to GET OUT! 

Jones Island | coastal review.org
Jones Island | coastal review.org

Exploring by foot this weekend yields intriguing insights into a coastal island, a look at fall color where we often don’t look, and a double feature of geology and views on a unique North Carolina mountain.

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We hike, in part, to explore (which is one reason the urge to go off trail can be so great). We love to see new things, love to see things that not a lot of other folks get to see. Hence, our recommendation for Saturday’s Jones Island Eco-Tour at Hammocks Beach State Park.

If you’ve spent much time in Swansboro, or explored the Cedar Point area of the Croatan National Forest, you’ve probably seen the forested, 24-acre island at the mouth of the White Oak River, just before it passes under NC 24. After a short boat ride, a ranger leads a walk around the island, which features various distinct habitats. “We will explore the island and the surrounding waters discussing about the wildlife and ecosystems of this unique island as well as its cultural history influences.”

Logistics: Jones Island Eco-Tour, Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m., Hammocks Beach State Park, Swansboro. Free, but space is limited and preregistration required, by calling 910.326.4881.

Saturday forecast: Temperatures in the low 50s under sunny skies.

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Looking ahead: North Carolina Birding Trail Hike, Halyburton Park, Wilmington, Dec. 15, 8 a.m. More info here.

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We’re used to looking to the treetops for our fall color. But there’s often good color in the understory. And that will be the focus of Sunday’s Fall Paint Hill Hike at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve.

As the Weymouth Woods website puts it: “The pine trees” — Weymouth Woods is known for its impressive tract of longleaf pines — “may stay green year round, but there are still many plants in the longleaf understory that put on a nice fall show. Join us for a 1.5 mile stroll around the Paint Hill tract of Weymouth Woods to enjoy an autumn afternoon in the Sandhills.”

Logistics: Fall Paint Hill Hike, Sunday, 3 p.m., Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Clear, with hikes in the low 60s.

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Looking ahead: Occoneechee Geology Hike, Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough, Dec. 17, 2 p.m. More info here.

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Back in the day, we heard of people who would buy a ticket to the matinee down at the Bijou, then, when that show was over, they’d mill about in the restroom for half an hour and sneak into a later show. Reprehensible behavior that, again, we’d heard other people who were not ourself had done.

We’re wondering if some of those same folks might have similar thoughts about Saturday’s back-to-back program at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area in West Jefferson. At 2 p.m., a ranger takes you on a hike through the geologic wonders of the mountain’s unique metamorphic rocks. Then, at 4 p.m., a ranger holds court atop the mountain, pointing out the surrounding peaks and talking local history.

Should you be inclined to double-dip, no one will look at you askance: both programs are free.

Logistics: Saturday, Geology Hike at 2 p.m., Vista Viewing at 4 p.m., Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Afternoon highs around 50 under clear skies.

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Looking ahead: Loons of Lake James Boat Tour, Lake James State Park, Nebo, Dec. 4, 1:45 p.m. More info here.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below. 

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of coastal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times read more

Your weekend: Present, Past, Fast

Fast times at Mount Jefferson
Fast times at Mount Jefferson

Detach your kids from their electronics and get them to live in the present (at least for 45 minutes) at Merchants Millpond; expose them to true culture shock with a look at how kids used to play in Saura times; or, head to the mountains and catch skateboarders on the fast track.

Coast: Coleman Trail Hike

The weather is expected to be great this weekend; why not take advantage and head to the coast! Merchants Millpond State Park is hosting a Kids In Parks Track Trail hike. Come participate in some simple animal exercises, and investigate the plethora of nature to be found along this 2-mile trail. Meet at the Boat Ramp area at the Coleman Trailhead on Sunday.

Sunday forecast: High of 75, low of 49, sunny.

Vital Stats: Kids In Parks Track Trail hike, Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville, Sunday, 1 p.m., meet at the Boat Ramp area of Coleman Trail head. Contact: 252.357.1191 or merchants.millpond@ncparks.gov. For more information, go here.

Looking ahead: Six-mile Nature Hike at Pettigrew State Park, Columbia, Sunday, May 15, 1 p.m. More info here.

Piedmont: Outdoor play in olden times

Ever wonder how people played before hover boards and drones? Or marbles and jacks?

Saturday and Sunday, come see how the Saura Indians played hundreds of years ago at the Saura Indian Games at Hanging Rock State Park. A park ranger will demonstrate how the Sauras kicked back after a long day of hunting and gathering.

Weekend forecast: Daytime highs in the upper 70s under mostly sunny skies both days.

Vital Stats: Saura Indian Games, Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, Saturday and Sunday, 2-3 p.m. both days. More info here.

Looking ahead: C.A.S.T. Catch A Sure Thing at Lake Jordan, geared towards youth who have minimal experience with fishing. April 30, 9:30am-11am. More info here.

Mountains: North Carolina Downhill Skateboard Race

Downhill skateboard? Racing?

Yep. Mount Jefferson State Natural Area hosts its second annual NC Downhill Race on Saturday and Sunday. Nearly 100 participants are expected to race, catapulting down the steep park road — Mount Jefferson rises 1,600 feet above the surrounding countryside — on skateboards and longboards reaching speeds in excess of 50 mph. Take a look at this year’s promotional video. Food and vendors, too. Meet at the old Lowes Food at the base of the mountain to catch a shuttle up to the spectator area.

Weekend forecast: Saturday: high of 66, low of 43; Sunday: high of 74, low of 51.

Vital Stats: NC Downhill Race, Saturday and Sunday,, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. Call 336.246.9653 for more info. To register to participate, if that’s your thing, and to find more information, go here.

Looking ahead: Wildflower walks at Grandfather Mountain State Park. Saturday May 7, 1:00pm. More info here.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of coastal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com read more