This weekend: run, hike, walk/run/bike

Nicholas Sparks with some guys enjoying his track.

A run with romance! A walk/run/bike for a cause, a wild hike for wildflowers highlight the action in North Carolina this weekend.


Did you know that before Nicholas Sparks was making women and girls misty-eyed with his tales of romance he ran track at Notre Dame? Surprised by that plot twist? That being the case, though, it shouldn’t surprise you that a 5K and 1-mile Fun Run are part of his Nicholas Sparks Celebrity Family Weekend starting Friday in New Bern? The 5K travels through roadkill-flat New Bern and ends on the state-of-the art track Sparks donated to New Bern High School. The 1-mile Fun Run is entirely on the track.

Logistics: $40 for the 5K, $30 for the fun run (procrastinators are dinged a $10 late-filing fee). Race day registration is from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the Nicholas Sparks Track at the New Bern High School located at 4200 Academic Drive in New Bern. 5K is at 9 a.m., fun run at 10:15. More info here.

Weather forecast: High of 77, 60 percent chance of rain.

Walk, run or bike in support of Umstead.


Imagine being able to walk or run or bike as a way to support your favorite park or forest. Imagine this Saturday’s Walk/Run/Bike for Umstead. This annual fund raiser for Umstead State Park in Raleigh includes a run/walk component on four miles of park trail and two bike tours, both lead by the Triangle Off-Road Cyclists, one four miles for beginners, the other 12 miles for more experienced riders. Rides begin at 9:30 a.m., the runs at 9:45. Trail is finely crushed, foot and tire friendly gravel roadbed.

Logistics: $15 for kids 12 and under, $35 for adults. Online registration through Thursday, April 19 at noon, in person registration at certain locations which you can learn more about here.

Weather forecast: High of 79 with a chance of thunderstorms.

Indian paintbrush: You might see some on Sunday's CMC hike.


The wildflowers are blooming in the high country — you just need to know where to look for them. That’s why you should follow the folks who’ve been following them for years; in the case of Sunday’s Hawkbill Flower Hike, that would be the Carolina Mountain Club. They know, for instance, that the vivid display of wildflowers peaks in this nook of the Craggy Mountains in late April. They also want you to know that the 8.4-mile route they’ll be taking is not for everyone: “This great wildflower hike follows a rough trail up alongside Hawkbill Creek to the top of the cove, then a very steep 400 ft bushwhack up to Hawkbill Rock. …” They also want you to know that it’s worth it: ““The wildflowers and ramps have been spectacular every time CMC has done this hike.”

Logistics: Sunday at 8 a.m. is when the hike will gather. For info on where they’ll gather and to sign up, contact Carroll Koepplinger at 828-667-0723 or You can find a description of the hike here.

Weather forecast: High of 65, 70 percent chance of rain (at nearby Mount Mitchell).

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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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