Weekend plans? A heated lake, a frigid ocean, snow

This weekend’s theme for action: Water, in its various forms.


At first blush (a blush suggestive of hypothermia?), the notion of taking a 4-hour kayak trip in 30-degree weather might seem daft. But then, this particular trip is on Belews Lake, which the sponsoring Piedmont Environmental Center notes, “being a power plant lake [Duke Energy] where water is used to cool energy-producing turbines, the heated water … is much warmer than ambient air temperatures. The result is a three-foot deep blanket of warm air — perfect for the kayaker!”

On the surface (the surprisingly toasty surface) Saturday’s Kayak Breakfast on Belews Lake may have something of a 1950s, sci-fi, Creature-from-the-spookily-warm-Black Lagoon” feel to it, but then again, it’s sponsored by the Piedmont Environmental Center, so it has to be safe — and from the sounds of it, potentially habit forming. Paddle through this three-foot-high heat dome as a naturalist points out the natural world beyond. Birds, deer, beaver, “steam devils” — all are common attractions on this trip. Plus, there’s a hot breakfast midway. Starts at 7:30 a.m., ends noonish. $40 for PEC members, $50 for nonmembers.

For more info or to sign up, go here.


Unlike Belews Lake, the Atlantic Ocean is not heated and there will not be a 3-foot-high blanket of hot air above it when the 3rd Annual Cold Stroke Classic kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Blockade Runner on Wrightsville Beach. Probably doesn’t matter to the paddlers, anyway, since this is standup paddle boarding and everything above your privates would freeze anyway.

That’s right, a stand-up paddle board race, featuring the 7-mile Elite course and for you newcomers to stand-up paddle boarding, a 3.5-mile recreational course. It’s a great opportunity to check out the fast-growing sport of stand-up paddle boarding, which basically involves … well, standing on a board longer and wider than a surfboard and propelling yourself with a single paddle. In addition to the race, there’s a clinic Friday at 2 p.m. by Dan Gavere and a manufacturer’s expo. Demos, too (but again, this water isn’t heated; bring your dry suit).

More info here. Curious about stand-up paddle boarding? Check out our dalliance with the sport last summer at Lake Crabtree, here.


It’s hard to imagine that skiing in North Carolina can get much better than it is

The riding at Wolf Ridge on Monday. Photo courtesy SkiSoutheast.com/Todd Mingus

right now. The state’s ski areas have already gotten about twice as much snowfall as they do in a typical winter — and it’s only early January. Even better, continued frigid temperatures have created a sustained window for snowmaking: the ski areas are operating wide open and are reporting powder and packed powder conditions. And with temperatures forecast to climb into the upper 30s this weekend, with lots of sun, the time is perfect to go skiing or riding.

Check out conditions at SkiSoutheast.com.

* * *

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.

Leave a Reply