A well-timed storm clears the air for a weekend of fun

Load up, get out this weekend!

For much of this week, North Carolina has been swathed in a blanket of green. An annoyance to some, a detriment to outdoor pursuits for others. We don’t care about the annoyed; we’re here to address our outdoor brothers and sisters who are afflicted with sensitive nasal passages. No doubt you were tempted by the first run of 80-degree-plus temperatures to get out and play. And no doubt you would up a runny, itchy, puffy mess as a result.

Going into the weekend we’re here to advise you of a miracle that promises sweet relief in time for the weekend. Overnight and into this morning, a cold front swept through the state with rains that have washed the sky of green. This morning I went out to test the skies with a 50-minute run at Umstead State Park, and I’m here dry-eyed and clear-nosed to tell you that the coast — or more accurately the skies — are clear. Perhaps even better news is that the weekend forecast calls for sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 70s. That means weekend weather suitable for a raft of activities. Speaking of rafting, let’s start there.

Rafting/paddling. Odds or your local rivers got just enough rain out of this storm to make them safely navigable. The Haw River at the town of Haw River got 0.4 inches overnight according to the USGS gauge there, bringing the river up to about three feet. That’s smack-dab in the middle of recommended paddling range of 2.25 to 4 feet. You can find a list of recommended paddling spots here, and 44 places where you can rent a canoe or kayak here.

Hiking. Temperatures in the low 70s — and cooler in the higher elevations — are perfect for hiking. Check out the good local hikes near where you live here.

Camping. With daytime highs in the low 70s, that means overnight lows around 50, ideal for sleeping in the great outdoors. Find a campground hear where you live here, or find one of the earlybird mountain campgrounds here.

Mountain biking. We got enough rain to raise the rivers some, but probably not enough to close your local mountain bike trails. Check out your local trails here.

Get out and enjoy!

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