This weekend: Hot with fun

Expand your horizons by watching top surfers at the coast or rise to new heights — by running to the top of Crowder’s Mountain or cycling 100 miles in the mountains and gaining 9,600 feet in the process.


Action is often the result of inspiration. Look at all the people who got into cycling because of Lance Armstrong’s success, albeit ill-begotten, in the Tour de France. Or the number of folks who flood the local state park on that first fall-like weekend of September. Or the spike in fly fishing after “A River Runs Through It.” Sometimes, watching leads to doing.

Thus, our recommendation for this weekend’s O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest at Wrightsville Beach. It’s an especially good option if you’ve never surfed but are intrigued by the notion. Show up, watch top amateurs and professionals, get inspired, take a lesson (offered through local surf shops and the Wrightsville Beach Parks & Rec. And if you are a surfer, a rare opportunity to compete.

Logistics: Friday-Sunday, July 12-14, Wrightsville Beach. Free to spectate. More info here, or call 910.256.3821

Weekend forecast: Highs in the low 80s, 40 percent to 60 percent chance of rain.

The view from atop Crowder's Mountain (photo courtesy N.C. Division of State Parks).


Some people scoff at the notion of hiking to the top of Crowder’s Mountain (not you, of course, others). But run to the summit!?

That’s the gist of Saturday’s Hot Top 10K, part of the Mountain Goat Trail Race Series. The Hot Top starts at the Linwood entrance to Crowder’s Mountain State Park and peaks out atop the park’s 1,625-foot namesake summit, which rises 800 feet above the surrounding countryside. There’s some singletrack, some doubletrack and 336 stairs.

Logistics: Saturday, July 13, 9 a.m. $45 by July 11. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 81, 30 percent chance of rain.

The start of the Hot Doggett Challenge.


Not a runner, but also interested in a hot event? How about Saturday’s Hot Doggett Challenge, one of the high country’s stellar century rides. The Hot Doggett starts at Mars Hill College and takes in scenic Madison County.

Interested, but not interested in a full 100 miles of mountain scenery and the 9,600 feet of cumulative climbing? Then check out the Devil’s Fork Metric, which offers options of 68 (a still sizable climb of 6,500 feet), 50 and 25 miles. If you’ve done the ride before and don’t like repeating the same course, then you should still consider the Hot Doggett: heavy rains of late have washed out portions of the traditional course, necessitating some rerouting.

Logistics: Saturday, July 13, 7:30 a.m. for the Hot Doggett, 8 a.m, for the Devil’s Fork. $45 by Thursday, July 13, $50 race day. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 79, 30 percent chance of rain.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed 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.


Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

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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