This weekend: Look for spring, Run for Roses, hike in … snow?

A sure sign of warmer weather: Tuesday, I saw this baby copperhead sunning himself on a log along the Haw River.

North Carolina’s diversity shows this weekend. At the coast, you can look for signs of spring, in the Piedmont you can run a venerable 5K and in the mountains, you can take a hike — possibly in the snow!


This is about the time the natural world starts to awaken from its cold winter nap — or as much of a nap as you can work in with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Most people assume that wildflowers such as the hepatica and trout lily represent the vanguard of spring, showing, typically, at the beginning of March. But knowing that spring is on the way is really a matter of knowing where to look. Under a log, for instance, which is where they’ll be looking for harbingers of spring on Saturday at Dismal Swamp State Park. Take a hike, find a log, flip it and see what scurries about. (Salamanders, millipedes and assorted insects will be your likely subjects.)

Logistics: Hike commences at 11 a.m. from the parking area. Targeted toward kids 3 and up. Dress to get dirty. More info at Dismal Swamp State Park.

Weekend forecast: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain in the morning, becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon.


Another sign of spring, in the Triangle, at least: the Second Empire Grand-Prix Spring Race Series, of which Sunday’s Run for the Roses in Raleigh is a part. In its 32nd running, Run for the Roses is one of the region’s oldest 5Ks and draws a good early-season crowd for its run through the streets of off-downtown) Raleigh. And since it’s a winter race it has the added attraction of of starting at 2 in the afternoon. The race benefits Canines for Veterans.

Logistics: $25, onsite registration, at the Halifax Community Center in Raleigh. More info here.

Weekend forecast: Sunny and cool, with a high of 43.

Lake James, as seen from Shortoff Mountain on the east rim of Linville Gorge.


Like hiking newly minted trail? Saturday you’ll have a chance to hike 1.5 miles of new Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail out of Lake James State Park. Get in a nice hike, learn about the plants and animals in the area, maybe stick around afterward and check out more of this park at the south end of Linville Gorge. Who knows, you may even get a chance to hike in snow! (See “Weather forecast” below.)

Logistics: Begins at 10 a.m., from the park’s Paddy’s Creek Area bridge parking lot. Here for more details.

Weekend forecast: Cold, high of 43, 20 percent chance of snow.

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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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3 thoughts on “This weekend: Look for spring, Run for Roses, hike in … snow?”

  1. That “baby Copperhead” is actually a harmless Midland Water Snake. Or possibly a Northern Watersnake, depending on your location. But it was in no way, shape or form a Copperhead.

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