We take a slightly different approach this week, inspired by what seems to be a greater-than-usual offering of intriguing critter programs this weekend in our state parks system. Today, we simply list the program title, the park hosting it, when it is, and a link. You have no reason not to learn a thing or two this weekend.
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.
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.
My senior year in high school I went to a new school. In football, we went 0-9, in basketball, 0-18. I always wondered how our cheerleaders could muster the enthusiasm, the optimism, to encourage us to push on.
I find myself in a similar situation, facing a rainy weekend, wondering how to encourage y’all to put on a happy face and head out the door for a weekend of adventure. So … well, grab your rain gear and let’s head out! Some options …
- Cox Mountain Hike, Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Eno River State Park, Durham. Watch the accompanying video — see the hillier sections? Those are from the Cox Mountain Trail, the very same Cox Mountain trail that’s the focus of this 4- to 5-mile hike. Learn more and sign up here.
- Hike to Tory’s Den, Saturday, 1 p.m., Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. New to this hiking thing and not sure you can hike very far, but still want some great scenery and you want it pretty much to yourself? (Boy, you’re demandy!) You can have it all on this half-mile round-trip hike on one of the lesser-visited, but still scenically awesome, trails at Hanging Rock. Learn more and sign up here.
- Wildings: Winter Wing Watching, Saturday 10 a.m., Weymouth Woods State Natural Area, Southern Pines. Remember when “wilding” was a bad thing done by juvenile hoodlums? Well, it’s practiced differently down in Southern Pines, where this wilding also features youths (ages 6 to 10), but involves them quietly watching birds. Learn more and sigh up here.
As always, 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
What we’re up to
Here are highlights of what GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! are up to this weekend:
=&6=&, Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m., Great Outdoor Provision Co., Raleigh. Join our GetBackpacking! braintrust for an all-encompassing discussion of all things backpacking, from how to get started to how to drop a pound or two. Learn more and sign up here.