This weekend: Bird, Curl, Hike

Birding at Pea Island. Photo:

A new year brings new opportunities to be active: go birding with seasoned birders on the Outer Banks or learn the sport of curling. Or, stick to the tried-and-true with a good ol’ winter mountain hike, courtesy the Carolina Mountain Club.


We adopt a three-day weekend for the purposes of this week’s recommendations in order to alert you to the weekly bird walks held every Friday at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Pea Island is  home to about 400 species of birds, and now is a good time to catch a good mix of year-round residents and migrants down for the winter from Canada and other points north.

“Whether you’re a beginner or an expert,” states the program description, you’ll enjoy this casual stroll beside North Pond. Field guides, binoculars, sunscreen, and insect repellent recommended. Some field guides and binoculars will be available for participants.”

Logistics: From 8-9:30 a.m., meet at Pea Island Visitor Center. Free. More info by calling 252.475.4180; more about Pea Island here.

Friday forecast: Sunny, high of 52, ideal for birding.


Looking for a new and different activity for 2013, emphasis on “different” because curling is more than 100 years old.

Curling? That thing from the Winter Olympics where people chase a marble orb with a broom?

Technically, the “stone” is made of granite and you don’t chase it so much as attempt to influence its trajectory by “sweeping” in front of it, the goal being to land your stone in the middle of the “house.” See, you’re intrigued already (who wouldn’t be by a sport rife with terms that must be used in quotes).

Sate your curling curiosity this Sunday evening when the Triangle Curling Club hosts a 2-hour Learn to Curl clinic at the Polar Ice House in Wake Forest. According to the club: “The session will consist of a brief off-ice introduction to curling, followed by about two hours of ice time. You will learn basic skills and play a short game.”

Logistics: Sunday, 6-8 p.m. $20, you must sign up in advance here. Questions will be fielded by emailing

Sunday forecast: It’s chilly on the ice. Bring layers and wear heavy socks and sturdy shoes because your feet are the first to go.

Old logging road in the Davidson River area.


What better way to celebrate the first weekend of the new year in the mountains than with a brisk hike! On Sunday, tag along with the Carolina Mountain Club on an 8.5-mile hike in the Sycamore Cove-Hickory Knob area of the Davidson River region of the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. The hike mostly follows old roadbeds and its low elevation start just outside of Brevard means easy access to the trailhead (just outside the Davidson River Campground).

Logistics: Carpool departs Asheville at 9:35 a.m. Sunday. Contact hike leader Ashok Kudva at 828.674.1374 or at to sign up and for more info.

Sunday forecast: High of 50, cloudy early, then clearing.

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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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