Tag Archives: N.C. State Parks

This weekend: Grab a paddle

WP.Coast

This weekend recognizes two fundamentals of outdoor recreation: One, when it’s hot out, water is an essential element of any activity. And two, sometimes you just can’t wait until the weekend to have some weekend fun.

Coast

Guided canoe trips are great. Sometimes, though, they can be a little staid: Now if we all raft up and be still, we might see the alligator gar surface to feed. Usually doesn’t take more than a half hour, again, provided no one moves or speaks … .”

Sometimes, though, you just need to let loose, to let go and have some good old fashioned water fun. And if you’re having that fun in a kayak, it only makes sense that the resulting activity would be funyaking. Which is just what they’ll be doing Saturday morning at 10 a.m. on the 11-acre lake at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park not too far from Goldsboro. You must be at least 10 years old to participate; no mention of an age restriction on the other end — woo hoo! Prepare to get wet playing games in your kayak.

Logistics: Saturday, June 27, 10 a.m., Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, Seven Springs. Free, but space is limited and preregistration is required, by calling 919.778.6234.

Saturday forecast: High of 86, chance of thunderstorms.

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Planning ahead: Wellness Walk, Saturday, July 11, Smith Creek Park, Wilmington. These monthly walks (every second Saturday) are lead by registered nurses and are a great opportunity to introduce walking into your wellness regimen. More info here.

Piedmont

Here’s a trip that would make any adventure lover jump the weekend starting gun: Friday morning’s Canoe Trip on the Yadkin River at Pilot Mountain State Park. The stretch in question: the 6.5 miles through the Bean Shoals area to Donnaha Park.

An especially great opportunity for beginning river paddlers: canoe, paddle and pfd are provided, as is the guidance of a park ranger. The only things you need to bring to the paddle party: a hat, sunscreen, water, lunch and a way to get from the take-out back to your car (at the put-in).

Logistics: Friday, June 26, 10 a.m., South River Section canoe launch at Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle. Free, but equipment is limited; RSVP in advance by calling the park at 336.325.2355.

Friday forecast: High of 94, sunny.

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Planning ahead: Every toyed with the notion of trying a triathlon? Fit & Able Production’s Plunge Pedal & Plod is the perfect opportunity to test your triworthiness. There’s the Tri A Bit option (50-yard swim, 4K bike, 1.6K run), Tri A Bit More (200 yards/8K/2.4 K) and Tri A Lot (400 meters/12K/3K). It’s Aug. 16 at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary. More info here.

Mountains

Lake James may look like a big lake more subject to Piedmont heat than mountain cool, but located at the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment and fed by the chill waters of the Linville River, its waters are refreshing, especially in the recent heat. And while the goal of paddling is not to become one with the water, worse things can happen.

Still, Lake James State Park Superintendent Nora Coffey promises a refreshing journey in the upright position on Saturday morning’s Canoe Excursion. Pushing off at 9 a.m. in the Paddy’s Creek area of the lake, Super Coffey will show you around the lake she calls home. BYOB, or call in advance for one of six loaner canoes available, for free, for this program. And if you do opt for a park boat, “ … be prepared to share your journey with a new friend if you are a single and space dictates.”

Logistics: Saturday, June 27, 9 a.m. Paddy Creek Area of Lake James State Park, Nebo. Free, but space is limited: 828.584.7728 to reserve a spot.

Saturday forecast: High of 85, chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

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Planning ahead: Looking for a mountain ride? Check out the Blue Ridge Breakaway on August 15 at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. Routes of varying distances and difficulty. Investigate 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 read more

This weekend: Fall for the autumnal outdoors

Tranter's Creek, near the put-in.
Tranter’s Creek, near the put-in.

What is there not to love about this time of year? Weekend temperatures across the state will range from the mid-70s at the coast to the low 60s in the mountains, fall is exhibiting varying degrees of color throughout, and the entire state will be under sunny skies. Great for a paddle, a hike, competitive mountain biking and more.

Coast

Our GetExploring! Greenville affiliate has the perfect idea for a sunny, 70-degree Sunday afternoon: go for a paddle.

Sunday at 1, the triple-guided trip (in the lead, in the middle, in the rear) will put in at the Tranter’s Creek Wildlife Resources Commission boat ramp just west of Little Washington. They’ll hang a left, then paddle to where Tranter’s convenes with the Tar River to form the Pamlico. From there, the group will explore the various islands (including the famous The Castle) across from the Washington waterfront — and the waterfront as well. An estimated 8 miles of paddling, about three to four hours on the water.

And don’t let the lack of a boat deter you: call ahead and GetExploring Greenville’s sponsor, Great Outdoor Provision Co., can hook you up with a rental kayak.

Logistics: Sunday, 1 p.m., Tranter’s Creek boat ramp in Little Washington. Learn more about the trip and how to rent a kayak at the GetExploring! Greenville Meetup site.

Sunday forecast: Sunny, high of 73.

Piedmont

Fall color is descending upon the Piedmont, and one of the best places to catch the show is at your local state park. You can simply go to the NC State Parks website, find the park nearest you, and take yourself on a self-propelled excursion. Or, you can tag along on a fall color-specific guided hike

Several are planned systemwide this weekend, starting with this evening’s Pinnacle Sunset Hike at Crowder’s Mountain State Park west of Charlotte. From the Visitor Center, this hike will head two miles to the Pinnacle, which offers 360-degree views of the surrounding color-drenched countryside, all the more illuminating in the waning hours of day.

Logistics: For information on tonight’s Pinnacle Sunset Hike as well well as other guided hikes in the state park system this weekend, go here.

Weekend forecast: Sunny and in the 70s, pretty much throughout the Piedmont.

Mountains

We take so much from our outdoor experiences; from time to time, it’s nice to give something back. Especially if you’re a mountain biker, this weekend is a great opportunity to give back, by volunteering at the Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals this weekend at Beech Mountain.

350 student riders from more than 50 colleges and universities will complete; that’s a lot of competitors and a lot of wranglers needed to help pull off the event, from course marshals to folks to help with registration and course set-up and breakdown. Plus, it’s a chance to see some of the best young riders in the country in action.

Logistics: To help, check with volunteer coordinator: Tracy Simms at mtbvolunteers@yahoo.com or 828.387.2011, ext. 205. For more information on the race, go here.

Weekend forecast: Sunny, high in the low 60s.

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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 costal 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

N.C. State Parks gets an app

$3.99 scores you the Pro version.

Say you’re driving through the Triad, you have some time on your hands and you think, “Hmm, I wonder if there’s a state park around here where I could do some rock climbing?” Used to be you’d have to be content to keep driving, keep wondering. Now, there’s an app for that.
The N.C. Parks Department this morning unveiled its Pocket Ranger app for iPhones and Droids that answers such immediate and pressing questions of the outdoor recreationist. Using our hypothetical situation, you could simply open your Pocket Ranger app, tap on “Park Activities,” finger down to “Rock Climbing” and tap on that, and discover that — holy cow! There’s not one but two state parks nearby (Hanging Rock and Pilot Mountain) where one can rock climb.

Among the other features of this free app: Stay current on park events; get news, alerts, and location-based weather updates; find basic park info such as hours of operation, facilities, trails and campgrounds; get directions; and some other stuff. Fork over $3.99 and upgrade to the “Pro” version and you get access to a slew of GPS-based features, social media options, a devise that lets you tell friends and family where you are, and more. A portion of the proceeds benefits the N.C. State Parks and Friends of State Parks, Inc.
To learn more about the Pocket Ranger app, go here.