This weekend: A proper September sendoff

The Scuppernong. Photo courtesy Mike Dunn

Say goodbye to September with a coastal paddle, a Piedmont adventure race, or a day in the mountains with your heads, thoughtfully, in the clouds.


Perhaps we’ve mentioned this a time or three before; if so, forgive us. But one of our favorite paddles in the state is on the Scuppernong River upstream from Columbia. Wide and open as the river is at Columbia, shortly before giving it up to Bull Bay and the Albemarle Sound, the river just upstream, where it becomes part of Pettigrew State Park, is close and intimate. Perfect for a fall canoe trip.

Logistics: Saturday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free, equipment provided, but reservations required, by calling the park office at 252.797.4475. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 75, partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain in the afternoon.


Into adventure racing? Then check out the Triad’s top race, the 11th Annual Flying Frog Adventure Race this Saturday. HQ’d out of Lake Brandt Marina, the race offers competition (and separate routes) in the pro and novice divisions. The Novice Course, say organizers, “is offered for new participants interested in trying the sport of adventure racing. The course takes 2-4 hours and includes a 1-2 mile paddle, 7-10 mile mountain bike, and 2-5 mile run.” For you seasoned vets: “The Pro Course is for more experienced racers who want a challenge. This course takes 4-6 hours and includes a 2-5 mile paddle, 10-20 mile mountain bike, and 6-10 mile run.”

Logistics: Saturday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m. start for the pros, noon for the novices. $60 for the novices, $80 for the pros. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Clear, high of 70.


We’re getting into a particularly interesting — and important — time of year to be able to read the weather, and the best way to do that is through the clouds. Clouds are constantly sending us important messages — but what do they mean? Impending rain? Snow? A cold front moving in? All important signals to decipher if you spend time in the wild. And signals you can learn to interpret at Sunday’s Clouds program at Elk Knob State Park. From atop Elk Knob you can see clouds in all directions — and a ranger will tell you just what they’re trying to tell you.

Logistics: Sunday, Sept. 29, 2 p.m., Elk Knob State Park, Todd. More info here.

Sunday forecast: Partly cloudy to cloudy (so you’ll have clouds to interpret), high of 68.

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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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