When you dream of a summer weekend in the dead of winter, you dream of a summer weekend like the one forecast for this Saturday and Sunday: high around 90 (in the Piedmont, at least), slight chance of thunderstorms. A weekend, in other words, made for dreamy adventure.
It’s the first official weekend of summer (it punches in/punched in at 11:54 a.m.), so let us go in search of summer like things to do. But first …
The naysayers have a way of twisting the good news of summer: It may be the start of summer, but the days start getting shorter now. Technically, yes. But only incrementally. And, in fact, official sunset continues to extend until a week from today: Tonight, official sunset is at 8:34:06 p.m., on June 28 it won’t set until 8:45:50 p.m.! (You know what that also means: if actual daylight begins to decrease, but the sun is staying up longer, then the difference must be absorbed by sunrise! The sun is getting up later — more time to sleep in.) Through July 30, the sun won’t set before 8:20, and it’s still up past 8 well into mid-August.
=&0=&Saturday night, Haw River State Park (8 p.m.) and Pettigrew State Park (8:30 p.m.). If it’s August it must be the Perseid meteor showers. Grab your camp chair or a blanket, sit (or lay) back and watch the best light show around. Remote Pettigrew, located in the remote coastal plain, an area with minimal light pollution, seems an especially good bet for a night of brilliant sparklers. More info here.
=&1=&. The dog days of August: the perfect time to be on the water. Here are three opportunities:
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=&
Today’s Friday Nudge offers takes from last weekend to encourage you to get out this weekend. If you’re interested in the places mentioned, click appropriately for more information: Little River Regional Park, Harris Lake County Park, Horton Grove Nature Preserve. For additional hiking opportunities, visit our GetHiking! page.
Enjoy an adventurous weekend!