This weekend: Get out and enjoy the springlike weather


Lake Waccamaw in winter.

With high temperatures expected to soar into the mid-70s in parts of North Carolina this weekend, you have no excuse for not getting into the wild, be it learning to reconnoiter at the coast, scoping birds in the Piedmont or hiking the Blue Ridge escarpment.


I may have recommended an orienteering class recently; I do so again for good reason: it’s always good to know where you are. Sunday at Lake Waccamaw State Park, equipped with compass and map, a ranger will give coordinates and help you figure out how to get from Point A to Point C via Point B. Again, a good skill to have, and Lake Waccamaw, home of a rare Carolina bay, is a scenic venue for learning new skills.

Logistics: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2 p.m. More info, call 910.646.4748.

Weekend forecast: High of 75, 20 percent chance of rain.

"The Big Year" — the book was good.


One of the joys of being outdoors is checking out the bird world, a world, locally, that expands come winter to include a variety of seasonal visitors from the north. The best place to check out this overwintering waterfowl is on water, big water especially. And one of the best spots in the Piedmont for winter waterfowl birding is Lake Townsend north of Greensboro. It’s a good habitat and it’s also the site of weekly birding expeditions led by the Piedmont Bird Club — on pontoon boats.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 12, 1:30 p.m. $4 fee. Binoculars are available. Call 336.373.3741 to reserve a spot and for more info.

Saturday forecast: High of 71, 20 percent chance of rain.

The MST through Doughton Park on a summer's day.


One of our favorite hikes is Saturday’s destination of the Carolina Berg Wanderers. Doughton Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway has more than 30 miles of trail. Most folks are familiar with the Mountains-to-Sea Trail stretch that runs along the parkway and along the park’s ridgeline. A nice stretch of Saturday’s hike takes in the MST. But the CBWs will also be hiking two trails on the face of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, one mellow (Cedar Ridge), one not so (Bluff Ridge Primitive Trail). Together, it’s a 13-mile loop with stellar views up top and great Southern Appalachian forest below. A jolly good choice by the Carolina Berg Wanderers, especially for a January afternoon.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 12, 7:30 a.m. carpool meetup. More info and sign-up info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 63, intermingled clouds and sunshine.

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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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