This weekend: a Dismal hike, a really cool ride and … lost!

The start of last year's RRRCPBMC.

A glorious experience in a Dismal place, riding with the polar bears, avoiding getting lost (but what to do if you do). Just another diverse weekend of outdoor adventure in North Carolina.


“Remember that resolution you made to get outside and exercise more this year?,” asks Dismal Swamp State Park. (Hey, if companies are people and are entitled to a voice, certainly a great natural area is as well.) “There’s no time like the present to start!” And this chatty park would like you to start with its Resolution Hike this Saturday. Meet at the Visitor Center at 10 a.m., then explore what POTUS No. 1 and avid surveyor George Washington called “a glorious paradise.” The Great Dismal has a fascinating natural and human history (check out Bland Simpson’s highly entertaining “The Great Dismal: A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir”) that can’t be captured in two miles, but it’s a start.

Dismal Swamp Canal.

Logistics: Again, meet at the Visitor Center at 10 a.m., it’s free and there’s no RSVP required. For more info, call the park at 252.771.6593 or visit its Web site (where you can also find driving directions).

Saturday forecast: Clear and cold with a daytime high of 43.


Cyclists looking to have a Big Year generally can’t wait to get that first metric century under their insulated kits. It seems like such a good idea when you sign up — then the temperature turns out to be in the 30s, it’s windy and it snows. That’s what happened at last year’s Polar Bear Metric Century sponsored by the Rock River Road Club in Davidson. Fortunately, this years RRRCPBMC promises to be warmer, dryer and less windy (see forecast below). The ride departs Davidson and takes country roads north and east. If you’re content with just getting a half metric in, there’s a 50K version as well. The ride benefits the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson.

Logistics: $25 race day to ride, race day registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Rest stops and SAG support. Learn more at the club’s Web site.

Saturday forecast: Sunny with highs in the mid-40s and winds 5-10 mph.


I got woefully ... misplaced on this "trail" to London Bald a year ago.

Here’s a scary feeling (or so, ahem, I’ve been told): You’re hiking in the woods, you get sidetracked onto a faux trail and suddenly — you’re lost. What now? You’ll know if you attend this Sunday’s Wilderness Survival program at Lake James State Park near Nebo. “Park Ranger Clay Veasey … will discuss survival kits, finding shelter, fire-building and much more,” says this also-talkative park.

Logistics: Meets from 10-11 a.m. Sunday at the park’s Catawba River Area Office. It’s free, no RSVP required. More info on the park and program by calling 828.584.7728 or visiting the park’s Web site.

Saturday forecast: True, the program is inside. But afterwards you’ll want to practice your newfound skills with a hike. Thus: A high of 45 is predicted under partly cloudy skies.

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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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2 thoughts on “This weekend: a Dismal hike, a really cool ride and … lost!”

  1. Linking to the Huffington Post? That’s really unnecessary. I thought this was an apolitical forum about outdoor exercise.

    I’m disappointed in the obvious political bias and will not be returning.

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