This weekend: an evening paddle, adventure race, evergreen hike

You could be here, on the Cape Fear River, Friday evening (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)

Kick off Easter weekend on the water Friday evening in Wilmington, then explore a Piedmont mountain or run — and bike and paddle and use a map & compass — like a bunny in the high country.


Back in college we started the weekend when it deserves to be started, at 5 o’clock Friday afternoon with a ritual we called FAC — Friday Afternoon Club. The focus of FAC was amber liquids, much like the focus of this Friday’s FAC — Sunset Kayaking Adventure — departing from Wilmington’s River Road Park. Unlike my old FAC, the objective this Friday will be to stay on top of those liquids, not consume them.

Friday’s paddle trip is beginner friendly and will start with an intro to kayaking and kayak safety. Then, once on the Cape Fear River paddlers will visit Sharks Tooth Island (for a picnic and fossil hunting) and, in a possible homage to FAC’s past, Keg Island.

Logistics: Friday, March 26, 5-9 p.m. $37.50 if you need a kayak, $25 if you BYOK. More info: 910.341.0075

Friday forecast: Sunny, high of 59.

The (manmade) cliffs at Occoneechee Mountain.


One thing to love about cold weather adventure in the Piedmont is the abundance of greenery to be found amid winter’s otherwise bland landscape. Yup, those greens sure are purdy — but what are they? Join a ranger at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area in Hillsborough to find out on a mile-and-a-half theme hike, “Heaths, Evergreen or Not?” We’ll start you off by telling you that mountain laurel, rhododendron and your native azaleas are all healths.

Logistics: Saturday, March 30, 1 p.m. Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsboro. More info here; the program is free, but call (919) 383-1686 to register.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 61.

Paddling the Jackrabbit.


Perhaps not the kind of thing you decide to do at the last minute, then again … . Saturday, it’s the Jackrabbit Adventure Race in Hayesville. The six-hour race — more suitable to those of you just now scratching your heads and noticing you have no plans for Saturday — includes mountain biking (10-12 miles), running/trekking (2-3 miles), paddling (6 miles, plus a half mile portage) and lots of orienteering, all in the friendly confines of the Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area. The 12-hour race, according to the sponsoring Trailblazers Adventure Racing Club, “will be much harder!”

Jackrabbit Mountain is in the Nantahala and Chattahoochee national forests (North Carolina and Georgia, respectively), and is home to Lake Chatuge.

Logistics: Saturday, March 30. Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area. Competition is 2-3 person teams, in male, female and coed categories, with solo and 40-plus divisions as well. $85 per person for the 6-hour race, $115 per person for the 12-hour version. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 57, 40 percent chance of rain.

* * *

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.

* * *
Like us on Facebook and get health, fitness and outdoors news throughout the day.

Promote Your Page Too

Leave a Reply