Tag Archives: Weymouth Woods

GetOut! Your Nudge for Weekend Adventure

Don’t let the weather rain on your weekend adventure parade. Grab a rain jacket (or a big trash bag) and venture out for some good, wet, fun! Such as:

Occoneechee Geology Hike, Saturday, 2 p.m., Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough. One of the reasons we like this hike for this weekend is that the trail is generally high up and less susceptible to standing water (except for portions along the Eno River, which will be under water). Quarrying operations from years ago leave the north face of the mountain exposed, making it ideal for a geological dissection. Also: the hike is lead by a geologist. About 1.5 miles of moderately difficult hiking. Free, but registration required, by calling 919.383.1686. More info here. read more

This weekend: Welcome, October!

A mighty longleaf pine, at Weymouth Woods. (Photo courtesy NC Parks)

A mellow downtown bike ride at the coast, an audience with a survivor from the days of Mary Queen of Scots and hankie hike up in the hollow. An interesting weekend of choices in North Carolina.

Coast

We love a good organized bike ride. And we have a special fondness for those that don’t cater to the hardcore cyclist capable of riding 100 miles. Or 63. Or even 25. We like the short, leisurely rides that just about anyone could do — even someone without a bike.

That’s the case with Saturday’s Historical Southport Bicycle Tour in downtown Southport. This mellow ride around town takes in Fort Johnston, the Brunswick Inn, the Old Brunswick Jail, the Crimes of the Heart Home, The Indian Trail Tree along the Cape Fear River and more. And at two hours, there’s plenty of time to study the sights. Led by The Adventure Company.

Logistics: Saturday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m. $15 if you have a bike and helmet, $20 if you need a bike and helmet. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 81.

Piedmont

If you head the to the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines Sunday afternoon and hitch on to the Old Growth Hike, you’ll be in the presence of something extremely special: the oldest known longleaf pine on Earth. Old Bessie (not the tree’s real name) rings in at 465 years of age. (We’ll save you the mental gymnastics: this tree sprouted would have sprouted in 1548, not long after Columbus et al started wrecking havoc on the New World.)

Come see one of the few remaining survivors from the year when Emperor Charles V ordered Catholics to become Lutherans. (A slow news year.)

Logistics: Sunday, Oct. 6, 3 p.m. Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines. More info: 910.692.2167

Saturday forecast: High of 84, partly cloudy.

Mountains

We like Sunday’s Haint Hike at Elk Knob State Park near Jefferson for the hike’s unusual packing list. The hike is up the Summit Trail and it’s led by “a native Appalachian [who] tells ghost stories from way back in the hollows of Appalachia.” So what do you pack for a haint hike? “Participants should bring hiking attire and a box of tissues, as they will be frightened.”

Logistics: Sunday, Oct. 6, 2 p.m., Elk Knob State Park, Todd. More info here.

Sunday forecast: High of 63, 20 percent chance of rain.

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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
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
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors read more

This weekend: a triathlon, wildflowers, the Great Pumpkin

There’s something for everyone in North Carolina this weekend: a triathlon at the coast, looking down for fall color in the Piedmont, taking the Great Pumpkin Mountain Challenge in the high country.

Coast

Thought your triathlon season was over? How about one last event — this Saturday’s Emerald Isle Triathlon. This is a slightly longer sprint distance tri: 750 meter swim in the Atlantic, 19.3k out-and-back bike ride along NC 58, 5k run along Ocean Drive. Flat, fast coastal race — with the buoyant ocean to lend a hand. 8 a.m. More info here.

Piedmont

When we explore the woods this time of year our natural tendency is to look skyward in search of color. Sunday’s ranger-lead hike at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve will have you looking down at fall’s often-overlooked color display. The Fall Wildflower Hike begins at 3 p.m. and is free. Meet at the Visitor Center; more info here.

Mountains

Linus may have waited in vain for the Great Pumpkin, but the wait has ended for the Great Pumpkin Mountain Challenge. Saturday at 9 a.m., help raise money to feed the hungry on a foot-based — hike, walk, run, your choice — excursion through Florence Nature Preserve in the mountains near Fairview. Event raises funds for The Lord’s Acre, Fairview’s Garden for Hunger. Your options for the day: 10k run up the south slope of Tater Knob, guided hike through the preserve, guided walk to (and into) historic Sherrill’s Inn. Every finisher gets a pumpkin! $15, $25 for couples and families. More info here.

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Those are GGNC’s thoughts for an active weekend. Find out other ways you can get out this weekend by browsing our super calendar, a collection of events calendars from throughout the state, 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
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
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors read more

Fall hikes without the fall crowds

Walk among the stately long leaf pines at Weymouth Woods.

OK, with fall peaking around us, you aren’t the only one thinking about taking a hike. People who in their entire lives have never thought about taking a hike are likely looking at the forecast — sunny and cool — and thinking, “Hmm, I should think about taking a hike.” And that means the usual suspects — the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains, Shining Rock — will be crawling with occasional hikers.

You don’t have to be one of them. There are plenty of off-the-well-trod path destinations that offer great hiking and scenery. Here are three, representing North Carolina’s three different geographic zones, plucked from the first statewide hiking guide I happened to pluck from the shelf, “100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina” (The Mountaineers Books).

Mountains

Pink Beds Valley, Davidson River area, Pisgah National Forest. This surprisingly flat (for the mountains, over 5 miles there’s only a total elevation gain of 208 feet), occasionally wet trail takes you through a rare southern Appalachian bog. You’ll hike through mountain laurel, rhododendron and hardwoods on this hike, the wetter portions of which are forded by boardwalks. Despite it’s length, its lack of elevation makes this a friendly hike for the not-so-frequent hiker. And, it’s easy to get to: the trailhead is located just off U.S. 276 11.5 miles north of U.S. 64 near Brevard.

Piedmont

Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines. I was at Weymouth Woods two weeks ago, on a 65-degree, cloudless Sunday perfect for hiking — and I saw three people in as many hours. Hiking counterclockwise from the visitors center, do the Bowers Bog/Lighter Stump/Pine Island/Holly Road/Gum Swamp/Pine Barrens loop and you’ll take in not only the 900-acre preserve’s classic long leaf pine savannah, you’ll also explore a dense, low-lying wetland that stands. The stark contrast helps explain why the land was preserved; here, you’ll find more than half of the 1,000 species of flora and fauna identified to date in the Sandhills region. And, again, it’s easy to get to,  located on the eastern outskirts of Southern Pines, located an hour and a quarter south of the Triangle on U.S. 1.

Coastal Plain

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, Newton Grove. Because it’s not-so-easy to get to, Cliffs of the Neuse is an especially good fall bet. It’s also a good opportunity to explore two of the state’s geographic regions for the price (admission is free, actually) of one. There’s plenty of Piedmont here, but you’ll also find one of the westernmost populations of Spanish-moss-draped cypress in the state. Plus, great views from the 90-foot cliff overlooking the Neuse.

Get out. Enjoy.