Picture a great weekend

Are you the next Ansel Adams?

Can a camera lead to fitness? Is paddling in winter as cool (not cold) as it sounds?  And whitewater racing? Really?


Sometimes all you need to spur you on to an active lifestyle is the right motivation, a motivation that, perhaps, hasn’t yet occurred to you.

Like a camera.

Think about it. You have a camera, you want new and unusual subjects to shoot. The outdoors is replete with new and unusual subjects. You start out with the new and unusual close to home. Soon you’re seeking out the new and unusual farther afield. Before you know it you’re doing 20 miles in the woods, being dragged around by your camera in search of the newer and more unusual.

First, though, you need to know how to use the camera. (Technically, first you need a camera.) Learn the basics of nature photography Saturday from 3-6 p.m. at a Nature Photography Workshop at scenic Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks. Says the sponsoring  Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, come “learn about exposure, composition, and special techniques to improve your nature photography. Bring your camera gear and explore the outdoors of Jockey’s Ridge State Park in search of photographic opportunities.” And it’s the best kind of learning — free.

Logistics: The course is free, but preregistration is required, by calling 252.453.0221, ext. 1. For information on Jockey’s Ridge, go here. For information on the Outer Banks Wildlife Education Center, go here.

Weekend forecast: Saturday calls for partly cloudy skies (good for lighting) and a high of 50.


Dress appropriately so you don't turn blue on a winter paddle.

I have trouble passing on a winter canoe trip, in part because they’re hard to find, in part because winter is such a great time to be on the water. The world around you is stark, exposed and especially good for spotting critters that might go unnoticed under cover of summer undergrowth.

That’s the thought behind Saturday’s Canoe Nature Trip at Lake Norman State Park in Statesville. Join a ranger in search of birds, beavers and assorted other lake and lakeside wildlife. All pertinent paddling equipment is provided, you need to bring clothes appropriate to the weather, plus towels and extra clothes appropriate to the weather, “just in case.”

Logistics: The trip is free, but preregistration is required, by calling the park office at 704-528-6350. Also: each boat must have someone age 16 or older. For more on Lake Norman State Park, go here.

Weekend forecast: Saturday is looking cool (high of 50) but clear.


Jennifer Singletary, racing C1W Whitewater Slalom.

Motivation, Part II: To pick up from our camera speech (see “Coast”), motivation can also come from watching others. Say, for instance, you’re a novice whitewater paddler. You’re comfortable on Class II water, successfully paddled Class III, though you wouldn’t go so far as to proclaim  comfort on these waters. Maybe what you need to get you over the hump is to watch skilled paddlers handle more challenging waters. Or maybe you already are skilled and are looking for a new challenge. This weekend’s 2012 Glacier Breaker Slalom and Wildwater Races at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Wesser, for instance.

There’ll be racing in the K-1, K-1W, C-1 and C-2 categories, racing is all in the vicinity of the NOC. For spectating purposes, racing begins at 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning, 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Logistics: $20 to race per class ($5 for each additional class), USACK membership required (one-day memberships available for $10). Registration is from 8:30-9:30 a.m. both days. For more details, visit the Nantahala Racing Club Web site here.

Weekend forecast: Cool and 45 Saturday, 54 on Sunday, no rain foreseen.

* * *

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.

* * *
Like us on Facebook and get health, fitness and outdoors news throughout the day.


Promote Your Page Too


Leave a Reply