This weekend: Big Sweep, new trail, cleared for 5K

Statewide, and especially at the coast, there’s a good workout to be had as part of NC Big Sweep. Meanwhile, a new trail opens in the Piedmont and on Saturday you needn’t be a 737 to fly down the runway at Asheville Regional Airport.


As we discovered this past weekend in the yard, there is perhaps no greater workout than trying to tidy up the outside world. Which is why if you’re looking for a heckuva workout this weekend, you need look no further than your local NC Big Sweep event. Yes, it’s that time, the first Saturday of October, when volunteers in all 100 North Carolina counties will gather to clean up their local waterways. While the events are held statewide, they seem to be especially popular along the coast. In Brunswick County alone, cleanups are scheduled in a dozen locations. To find out what’s going on near you, see Logistics, below.

Logistics: To learn about events in all 100 North Carolina counties, visit the NC Big Sweep Web site, here.

Saturday forecast: Looking good along the coast, sunny with highs around 80.


We’ll write more about this Thursday, but make plans this weekend to visit the Triangle’s newest hiking venue: the Triangle Land Conservancy’s Horton Grove Nature Preserve in northern Durham County. When it opens this weekend, the preserve will offer rare hiking in the northern Triangle (the only other public hiking in the region is at Little River Regional Park on the Durham/Orange county line). The 3+ miles of trail meander through a reclaimed Piedmont Prairie, through recovering hardwood forest, atop a high bluff. Eventually, the trail network will expand to 10 miles, and include a link to the adjoining Historic Stagville Plantation.

Saturday’s grand opening runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a variety of activities planned, activities you can learn about by checking out “Logistics,” below.

Logistics: More about the preserve here.  More about Saturday’s festivities, here.

Saturday forecast: High of 77, 20 percent chance of rain.


For some reason, airport runaways have become the latest thing in 5Ks. Because runways are long — up to 10,000 feet at large airports — an out-and-back can easily accommodate a 5K. For most of those, the last thing you want is to be constantly aware of the finish. I remember a couple years back running a 5K at Piedmont Triad International, running out the long runway, then turning and running back, seeing the finish from more than a mile and a half away, yet for the longest time not seeing it appear to get any closer. Demoralizing. And yet, I couldn’t wait to run another.

Part of the beauty of Saturday’s Runway 5K + Aviation Day at Asheville Regional airport is that the race begins down a runway, but instead of boomeranging right back, diverts off through the airport campus for the second half of the run. The quirky thrill of running on a runway minus the torture of an ever-visible finish.

Logistics: Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., the race at 9:30 a.m., $40 race day. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 70, chance of afternoon 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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