This weekend: A cold stroke of outdoor fun

Start of the 2012 Cold Stroke Classic. Photo

It’s the 5th Annual Cold Stroke Classic in Wrightsville Beach on Saturday, an aptly-named stand up paddlleboarding race for the third weekend in January. Meanwhile, in the Piedmont you can whistle while you work, on the trails at Morrow Mountain State Park, or retreat to Montreat for a climb up mile-high Graybeard Mountain with the Carolina Mountain Club.


Looking to up your stand up paddleboarding game? Check out Saturday’s 5th Annual Cold Stroke Classic commencing from near the Blockade Runner in Wrightsville Beach. There’s a 7-mile elite race consisting of two laps in the protected waters behind Wrightsville, a 3.5-mile recreational affair of one lap.  Prizes in both categories, plus the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and SeaTow will be on hand to provide assistance in the event you need some.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 19, racer meeting at 9:30 a.m., racing begins at 10 a.m. $45 for rec race, $65 elite race, tack on $15 for race day registration. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny and a high of 60.

The joys of trail maintenance.


Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to give more back to the outdoor world you take so much from? If not, it should be, and you should waste no time in acting on this altruistic goal you have so selflessly set. In fact, you can act as soon as Saturday, on a Volunteer Trail Workday at Morrow Mountain State Park. You’ll get to use fun rangerlike tools — shovels, rakes, lopping shears, mattocks, to name a few — and work up a good winter sweat helping to maintain the park’s hiking and equestrian trails.

Logistics: Workday starts at noon at Morrow Mountain State Park near Albemarle. Wear hard-toed boots (if you have ‘em) and bring sturdy gloves (again). Come ready to work. Questions handled in advance by calling the park at 704.982.4402.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 54.

A moody Graybeard.


Sunday, the Carolina Mountain Club does one of our favorite hikes not-far-off-of-an-interstate-highway. That would be the 11-mile loop hike up to Graybeard Mountain from Montreat. Good views from Walker Knob and Pot Cove Gap, some steep sections, a cozy summit and a fairly mellow, overall, 2,800 feet of total climbing.

Logistics: Sunday, Jan. 20, 9 a.m. carpool departure from Asheville. Contact hike leader Les Love at 828.658.1489 or for more information.

Sunday forecast: Sunny and a high of 50.

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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.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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