End 2012 with an active bang


Chilly Willy says, "You people are nuts"

A polar bear plunge, a 5K, a hike, a kayak tour, a clinic — all good ways to end 2012 and usher in 2013.


Looking for a good reason to make one last trip to the coast in 2012? Try the five-day Crystal Coast Countdown, which begins Friday and runs through New Year’s Day (Tuesday). A range of activities are scheduled for North Carolina’s mid-coast area; those of most interest to active types include: Friday, 9 a.m.: Guided Kayak Tour in the Pine Knoll Shores area; Saturday, 8:30 a.m.: Resolution Run (1-mile fun run and 5K) in Beaufort; Tuesday, 10 a.m.: Guided hike at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach; Tuesday, 1 p.m.: Penguin Plunge, in the Atlantic, from Atlantic Beach.

Logistics: For more information on the aforementioned activities plus a rundown of other stuff going on, go here.

Five-day forecast: Pretty nice, overall. Highs generally in the mid- to upper-50s, more than half chance of rain on Saturday and Tuesday.


Hit the ground running — well, not running, exactly; more like progressing with the confidence you know exactly where you’re going — in the new year with a new skill: map reading. Specifically, reading and understanding the assorted nuances of a topographical map. That’s the gist of a clinic this afternoon at 2 p.m. at Lake Norman State Park. “This introductory class will help you practice the skills you need to read them.”

Logistics: Today, 2 p.m., Lake Norman State Park. Free, 704.528.6350 to register. More about the park here.

Today’s forecast: Sunny, high of 48.

A view from the Mountains-to-Sea Trail near Haywood Gap.


What better way to end the year in the mountains than with a hike on high. Sunday, the Carolina Mountain Club does an 8.5-mile stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, starting from the Cowee Overlook Access and ending at Haywood Gap. The hike is described as moderate in difficulty and much of the hike is above 5,000 feet, making it especially subject to cold, windy conditions. Layer accordingly.

Logistics: Carpool from Asheville at 8:30 a.m., hike leader Paul Benson at 828.273.2098 or PDBenson@charter.net to sign up and for more information. More on the hike here.

Sunday forecast: Clearing into the afternoon, high of 37 (that’s down in Waynesville; probably won’t warm up that much at 5,000 feet).

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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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