This weekend: wayfind, paddle, ski

Wayfinding, warm water kayaking, winging your way down a mountain — it’s all happening in North Carolina this weekend.


Sometimes luring the recalcitrant into the outdoors is simply a matter of offering the right bait. A mere walk in a cold forest may not appeal to someone more involved in cerebral pursuits, but throw in a map, a compass and the opportunity to calculate your way over hill and dale and suddenly a hike doesn’t seem so bad. Sunday at 2 p.m. just such an opportunity will be offered at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park near Goldsboro, when a park ranger leads a beginner course in map reading and using the compass. (If you have a compass, bring it; otherwise, the park has some spares you can use.) It’s free and should last about an hour and a half.

Directions and more about Cliffs of the Neuse here.


Opportunities to take a guided kayak trip are few during cold weather months, fewer still are those trips that throw in a hot breakfast. Take advantage of such a rare opportunity Saturday morning on a four-and-a-half-hour guided tour on High Point’s Belews Lake. Conducted by the Piedmont Environmental Center, the tour will check out the birds, beaver and other wildlife that live along the lake; all gear is included, including a heated lake! (A power plant on the lake uses lake water to cool its turbines.) Cost is $50, $40 if you’re a member of the PEC. The trip is appropriate for beginners.

More info here.


Just like that, we’re in the middle of ski season. At mid-week, North Carolina’s ski area’s were reporting mid-season conditions, thanks to a weekend dump of snow and cold weather making for ideal snowmaking conditions. Ski Beech, for instance, has already recorded 21.6 inches of snow for the season and coming into this week had 4 of 8 lifts operating. Just down the road, Sugar Mountain was reporting 15.3 inches of snowfall to date with a base ranging from  26 to 56 inches! Not only will you be able to ski this weekend, but conditions should be good and a fair amount of terrain should be open. The lone caveat: You won’t be alone.

For the latest, most objective report on conditions on the state’s slopes, visit

Photo: Sugar Mountain gets off to a fast start for the 2010-11 season. (Photo courtesy Kenny Griffen/
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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.

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.
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).


Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.



Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

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