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
Your best shot at weekend adventure this weekend: do it Saturday because Sunday it looks like you might be iced in. More about Sunday in a moment. First, a thing or three to do Saturday:
=&0=&, Saturday, 1 p.m., Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. We did this hike for the first time a couple months back and were struck by the contrast to the top of Hanging Rock. Whereas the top of the mountain is dominated by rock outcrop and dazzling views, the same rock outcrops here at the base are festooned in rhododendron and mountain laurel, making for a most intimate hike — and place to hide, as British Loyalists did during the American Revolution. A ranger tells all. Learn more and sign up here.
=&1=&, Saturday, 10 a.m., Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock. New trail alert! An effort is underway to build a continuous trail along the horseshoe-shaped rim of the Hickory Nut Gorge southeast of Asheville. A big part of that effort is the recently completed Weed Patch Mountain Trail on the north rim of the gorge. Saturday, the Friends of Chimney Rock State Park lead a hike from the west end of Weed Patch to Eagle Rock: the two-mile out-and-back includes passage through a naturally occurring tunnel. The hike is lead by the Friends of Chimney Rock State Park. A fee may apply. Learn more and sign up here.
=&2=&, Sunday, 3 p.m., Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines. We’ll throw in one Sunday event, in the coastal plain, which may avoid winter’s visit. This one-mile hike checkouts Weymouth Woods wetlands in search of this festively colored fowl. Learn more and sign up here.
Now, about that winter weather:
State parks. If you’re planning a visit, North Carolina State Parks are good about posting weather-related closures on their website (they’ve already closed all mountain campgrounds for Saturday to Monday). If in doubt, check here first.
Cross-country skiing. If you’re a northern expat and still have your cross-country skis, here’s where you might be able to use ‘em in the Piedmont. And find where to x-country in the mountains, here.
Hiking. And because we don’t get to hike in the snow all that often, you might need a refresher in how to make that happen comfortably and safely. For that, head here.