Today, we take a slightly different tack in our recommendations for how to get out and play this weekend. Events this weekend seem to center around certain themes, so instead of picking three specific events, we’re going with three themes and referencing the related events. Click on the link for details.
Last weekend, we hiked more of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake and saw our first mountain laurel bloom of the season — a lone bloom, but an impressively full and vibrant (if white can be vibrant) bloom about midway between the Shinleaf Recreation Area and NC 98. We also spent a little time exploring all the Eno River in Orange County and planning a trip next weekend to the Curtis Creek area of the Pisgah National Forest. It was a busy weekend on the trail.
We mentioned last week that we also saw our first traces of poison ivy. Traces? Tracts is more like it, ominously sneaking right up to the trail as if it intend to grab us by the ankle and wreak itchy havoc. That prompted us to put together an advisory on how to avoid poison ivy as well as ticks and mosquitoes as we head into our first 90-degree weekend of the summer. 90! Woo hoo.
With the temperature and Mom (Sunday’s Mother’s Day, remember) in mind, we bring you our three picks for adventure this weekend. Get Out and enjoy!
Saturday, May 12, noon
We’re going to be hiking at Little River Regional Park on the Durham/Orange line Saturday morning, then visiting Harris Lake County Park for a loop around the Peninsula Trail Sunday afternoon. After a week of temperatures nearing 80, the wildflowers should be in especially good form.
If you’re looking for a hike home, we made a bunch of recommendations to our friends at BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. You can check out those here.
Here’s a preview of what to expect if you head up to Little River this weekend — just add the sunshine!
Cliffs of the Neuse State Park celebrates the frog, Haw River State Park celebrates wild flowers, and Asheville celebrates the fleet of foot with a trail run. It all happens Saturday, your last chance to celebrate April.
By Emily Reeves, intern
Coast: Save the Frogs
April 30 — Saturday — is International Save the Frogs Day; Cliffs of The Neuse State Park near Goldsboro promises a hopping good celebration in observance. Participants will be able to take part in various activities that give you the chance to learn about the challenges frogs face.
After a presentation in the Visitor Center, there will be a hike in search of frogs residing in the park.
Saturday forecast: High of 79, low of 61, mostly cloudy.
Vital Stats: Save the Frogs Day, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, Saturday, 2 p.m., meet at the Visitor Center. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 919.778.6234, or go here for more information.
Looking ahead: Fitness Hike at Goose Creek State Park, Washington, Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m, bring a way to track your steps on a brisk-paced 5-mile hike. More information here.
Piedmont: Spring wildflowers
I have a friend who says late April is the perfect time of year to see flowers. Wildflowers are in peak bloom, their perky color accentuated by the grass and trees, which are the greenest of greens.
Saturday, a Haw River State Park ranger leads a wildflower hike on the new Great Blue Heron Trail in its just-opened Iron Ore Belt Access area. The trail runs near wetlands, through meadows and beneath mature hardwoods; it’s terrain ideal for wildflower viewing and perhaps glimpsing a wood duck, or if you’re lucky, the day’s international guest of honor (see Coast entry, above), the frog.
Saturday forecast: High of 74, low of 60. The day will be cloudy, but don’t forget sunblock!
Vital Stats: Wildflower Walk, Haw River State Park, Browns Summit, Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon. Contact email@example.com, call 336.342.616, or go here for more information.
Looking ahead: Salamander Search at Pilot Mountain State Park, Saturday May 7 10am -12pm, learn about the lifestyle of a salamander then hike to explore and search for some in their habitats. More info here.
Mountains: 2016 Camp Cedar Trail Run
Saturday, Asheville is hosting the inaugural Camp Cedar Cliff Trail Run on 350 acres of mountain forest that is part of The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. There will be a 5K, an 8K, and a Kids Fun Run. Proceeds benefit the camp. After the runs, participants will be able to enjoy camp activities, food, and fun, while they wait for the award ceremony and raffle drawing.
Saturday forecast: High of 79, low of 60, chance for afternoon thunderstorms.
Vital Stats: 2016 Camp Cedar Trail Run, Camp Cedar Cliff, Asheville, Saturday, 8 a.m; $25 for the 5K, $30 for the 8K. Contact 828.450.3331, or find more information, including trail elevations and maps here.
Looking ahead: Life of a Park Ranger, Gorges State Park, Friday, May 13, 5:30 p.m., learn about the many different hats a park ranger wears while enjoying some S’more’s over an open fire. More info here.
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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.
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
Because of weekends like this past weekend spent by our GetBackpacking! group at Linville Gorge. Because of the rare chance to see half of North Carolina’s high country on a brilliantly clear day. Because of the whip-poor-will, whose enchanting (if, after a while, annoying) call serenades you throughout the night. Because of the abundance of perfectly drawn wildflowers. Because of the full moon that envelopes your campsite with just enough light. Because everything and anything tastes great after hiking 18 miles. Because it’s a weekend you won’t soon forget.