Pre-spring fever: catch it this weekend

This weekend: Learn how to use a map and compass, learn how to play golf with a disc, learn your strengths as a hiker.


Ever wonder what happens when the battery in your GPS dies? You wouldn’t have to, nor would you care, if you were skilled in the art of orienteering. Orienteering: the ancient (pre 2000) art of wayfinding with map and compass. In fact, even if you’ve had a fully-charged GPS you’ve probably wished you knew how to to use a map and compass (the things aren’t 100 percent reliable).

Learn this lost art Sunday at a Map and Compass Work for Beginners workshop at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, located on the Neuse River south of Goldsboro. The workshop, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., will be hands on and led by a ranger. If you have a compass, bring it; if you don’t the park can provide one. There’ll be a short presentation in the park amphitheater before you’re unleashed into the wild.

It’s free, but registration is required, by calling 919.778.6234. More info on the program here. More info on the park, including how to get there, here.


I used to love playing golf. That was back when you could still walk the course, before they started making you take a cart. Eliminating the walk — which gave you time to think about your shot as you approached the ball — killed it for me. (Plus, the cart wasn’t capable of the off-roading required to get to where my ball typically wound up.)

Hey, Bobby — where you going with that disc in your hand?

That’s not a problem with disc golf. In disc golf, you fling a disc down the fairway, you follow it on foot. Fling, walk, fling, walk. It’s a delightful way to spend an afternoon. If you aren’t familiar with the sport, you should acquaint yourself this Saturday at Harris Lake County Park’s Family Disc Golf event. Learn proper technique from a disc golf pro on Harris Lake’s 18-hole course. Then stick around and play a round.

Runs from 10 a.m. to noon, $3 per person, $5 for families. Space is limited, preregistration is required, by calling 919.387.4342. Learn more about Harris Lake, a Wake County park south of Raleigh, here. Watch a video of the 2010 Buckhorn Open Disc Golf Tournament played at Harris Lake — in the snow! — here.


On the cusp of spring, what better reason to head to the mountains than a long hike? This Sunday, the Carolina Mountain Club is leading two of them.

First, there’s an 8.2-mile hike up Pilot Mountain, and not the Pilot Mountain of State Park fame. Rather, this one is in the Pisgah National Forest, in the Shining Rock area. Hike is on old roadbeds, with some off-trail hiking. Total elevation gain of 1,800 feet. Contact Dave Wetmore, 828-884-7296, for details.

Up for something more strenuous (their designation)? How about the 14.4-mile Chasteen Creek/Hughes Ridge/Bradley Fork hike, which starts at the Smokemont Campground in the Great Smokies. 2,800 total feet of elevation, plan on snow at the higher elevations. Contact Don Gardner, 828-754-4067, for specifics.

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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.

Todd’s Calendar



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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