This weekend: Plunge, scope, run


It’s another diverse weekend in North Carolina: Take a preseason plunge into the chilly Atlantic, run up a quartzite monadnock, or spy on your feathered friends (in the name of science).


Here’s a good opportunity to see just how sturdy your cardio is: The 8th Annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge Saturday at Carolina Beach. Picture yourself at the Le Mans-style start, you in your fetching bathing suit making  a mad dash for the 51.3 degree waters of the Atlantic — all in support of Special Olympics. Related festivities — live entertainment, costume contest, auction, food, drawings for prizes — start at 11 a.m., the plunge takes place during the heat of the day, at 3 p.m. (air temperatures around 60 are forecast).

Logistics: The event is at 3 p.m., at the boardwalk in Carolina Beach, Harper Avenue and Cape Fear Boulevard. More info by calling 910.341.5876 or visiting the Web site.

Weekend forecast: Highs near 60.

Your fellow birders.


It’s the Great Backyard Bird Count across the land, an event of citizen science in which regular folks grab their binos and take note of the bird life in their immediate environs. Spend as little as 15 minutes recording the variety and number of birds you see, then report your findings at the GBBC Web site. You can do it by your lonesome or get together for a group count, such as the one Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lake Crabtree County Park in Morrisville. Here, you can pick the brains of accomplished birders, learn about the local bird scene and help science detect trends in local bird populations.

Logistics: The count is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lake Crabtree County Park, 1400 Aviation Parkway in Morrisville. More info by calling 919.460.3390 or by going here.

Weekend forecast: High of 55 with a 30 percent chance of rain.


Technically, yes, Pilot Mountain is in the Piedmont. But it is a mountain, and frankly there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot shaking in an organized sense in the high country this weekend. Hence, we recommend Saturday’s Pilot Mountain Pay Back. Actually, we don’t recommend this for everyone, only those who are prepared to run a half or full marathon on the trails of Pilot Mountain State Park. Never been to Pilot Mountain? The race involves running on natural surface trail up the pinnacle at left, which rises 1,400 feet from the surrounding countryside. Sound appealing? If so, read on.

Logistics: Races start at 8 a.m. $50 for the marathon, $35 for the half, everyone gets armwarmers! More info by calling 336.462.4124 or by visiting the Web site here.

Weekend forecast: High of 50, 20 percent chance of rain.

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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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