This weekend: Spike, hike, bike

Photo courtesy

Did you know this is about the time in the new year when people begin to lose their resolve to be healthier and more active? If you feel you may be at risk, check out our statewide prescription for a prolonged active lifestyle. We have something for the team player (volleyball at the coast), the nature lover (a geology hike in the Piedmont) and — what’s a nice way to put this — the nutcase, in the form of a night downhill mountain bike race in the mountains.

Stay active, my friends.


Someday, I’m going to get three friends and head to the coast for the periodic 4 x 4 Coed Indoor Volleyball Tournaments held by the Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Department. You must pre-register, which discourages the unpracticed, and the $55 team fee is fair but, again, makes you take the tourney a bit more seriously. And, there’s the prospect of prize money — 70 percent of the take goes to first place, the remaining 30 percent to second place — which could cover gas and a stop on the way home at Smithfield’s Chicken and Bar-B-Q! It’s BYOB (Bring Your Own Ball).

Logistics: Pre-register by calling Emerald Isle Parks & Recreation at 252.354.6350 by 5 p.m. Friday. Six team limit. More info at the aforementioned number or via Games start at 8 a.m.

Saturday forecast: The tourney is indoor, but if you lose in the first round bring outdoor play clothes: the weatherman is calling for partly sunny skies and a high of 50.

The view from atop Occoneechee Mountain at sunset. Photo courtesy North Carolina Division of Parks & Recreation


Brisk weather for hiking is in the forecast for this weekend in the Piedmont; if you’re a fan of  medium brisk, then you might want to plan on hiking Saturday, when the temperatures will be a skosh warmer. It just so happens there’s a mountains-in-the-Piedmont hike Saturday, at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area in Hillsborough. This popular hike explores this pyrophyllite quarry with insights offered by a bonafide geologist. Plus, Occoneechee, the highest point in Orange County, is especially good in cold weather. Don’t ask why, just is.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2 p.m., Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough.  Free, but pre-registration required, by calling 919.383.1686. More about Occoneechee Mountain here.

Saturday forecast: High of 43, clear with clouds moving in as the day progresses.


Don’t you love an event where the name says it all? Like Saturday’s Icycle Mountain Bike Event out of Fontana Village? The Icycle consists of a cross-country race — several actually, in various categories and skill levels. All on a 7-mile course that “consists of varied terrain with rocks, roots, creeks, & wide open passing lanes offering some of the finest western North Carolina singletrack.” There’s also the Icycle Night Downhill, described as “not for the faint at heart.” A minimum 10 watt/150 lumen light is required for this one.

Logistics: Entry fee starts at $30 and registration closes at the very end of today (Thursday, Jan. 24). Register here. More info by calling 800.849.2258, or going here.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 45.

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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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