This weekend: Take a flying leap, celebrate a bridge, take a long hike

More than 60 pilots are expected at this weekend's Hang Gliding Spectacular and Air Show.

A good looking weekend is on tap across North Carolina. Our thoughts on how to make the most of it include a trip to the coast, where some of the best hang gliders around will be circling Jockey’s Ridge; an excursion into the Piedmont, where they’ll be celebrating another milestone for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail; and a visit to the high country where they’re doing what you do when the spring wildflowers start to pop: you go for a hike.


If man were meant to fly he’d have swept-wing craft made of durable lightweight fabric attached to an aluminum or composite frame that he could harness himself into and take flight from an elevated location.

Like a sand dune.

Specifically, like the sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge, home to this weekend’s Hang Gliding Spectacular and Air Games. The event kicks off Thursday night with a Pre Spectacular Party and runs through Monday morning. In between, there’s lots of competition and a film festival. More than 60 top hang gliders from all over are expected to participate. If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of flying, make plans to be at Jockey’s Ridge this weekend to see what it’s about.

Logistics: A full schedule of events and other pertinent info can be found at the Web site for sponsor Kitty Hawk Kites.

Weekend forecast: Looks like it will be overcast and warm, for the most part, with highs around 80.

Little Lick Creek Bridge.


If you’re a fan of long hikes, make plans to be at Falls Lake Saturday morning when the 100-foot bridge over Little Lick Creek is officially opened, officially establishing 60 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the lake’s south shore. (“Officially,” because the bridge has actually been open for a couple months; apparently they just found the ribbon-cutting scissors). Words will be spoken at the Rollingview Recreation Area of Falls Lake, followed by a hike to, and over, the bridge-of-honor. It’s a nice stretch of trail, through tight forest at the beginning and, at the bridge, over an open wetland.

You can now hike the MST nonstop from Penny’s Bend at Old Oxford Highway near Durham downstream to the Falls Lake Dam. When the 1,000-mile MST is completely done (it’s a little over halfway now), you’ll be able to hike from Clingman’s Dome on the Tennessee border to Jockey’s Ridge on the Atlantic.

Logistics: The dedication is at 10 a.m., the hike follows. More info at the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 73.


This past weekend the weather was … challenging in the Craggy Mountains. Which means this weekend should bode well for the Carolina Mountain Club’s Bee Tree Gap to Tanbark Tunnel hike Saturday on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The 6.2-mile hike features passage over Lane Pinnacle and through Rattlesnake Lodge. Expect good views and lots of wildflowers.

Logistics: Shuttle to the trailhead departs from the Folk Art Center in Asheville at 9 a.m. For details and to register for the hike contact hike leader Kathleen Hannigan at 828-230-4883 or For more on the route, go here.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 74.

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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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