This weekend: Paddle for glory, hike for color

Fall revs up in the high country with increasing color while paddling opportunities linger in the Piedmont.

Chimney Rock in fall. Photo by Chuck Hall


We venture into the wild for various reasons. One of those reasons: to learn about, and see new things. A visit to Lake Waccamaw State Park offers some especially interesting learning opportunities. For instance, the park’s website informs us: “Lake Waccamaw’s water quality contributes to an interesting mix of animal life in the park. Several species are found only in or around the lake and nowhere else on Earth. These species are known as endemics.” Among those endemics: Waccamaw darter, Waccamaw silverside, Waccamaw killifish, Waccamaw spike and the Waccamaw fatmucket.

How many opportunities do you get to experience a fatmucket? At least one, on Saturday’s Afternoon Paddle: Big Creek Adventure. Start on the creek, wind up in Lake Waccamaw, a Carolina bay, with lots of the unusual to see on the way.

Logistics: Saturday, Oct. 12, 2 p.m. Free. More info on the park here.

Saturday forecast: High of 77, mostly cloudy.


5Ks are a dime a dozen (closer to $35 a dozen, if you’re going by the entrance fee). But canoe and kayak races? And Saturday’s Fall Canoe and Kayak Race at Mayo Lake in Person County on Saturday isn’t just a race: you can race a canoe, you can race a kayak, you can race a technical course, you can race a linear course and you can race in your age group. That’s a whole lot of racing, especially for the modest $15 entrance fee.

Logistics: Saturday, Oct. 12, 10 a.m., Mayo Lake in Person County. Learn more about the race and find out where Mayo Lake might be, here.

Saturday forecast: High of 70, overcast.


All hail the Waccamaw fatmucket (only at Lakw Waccamaw). Photo Courtesy N.C. State Parks.

The mountains are getting lit early this fall, with a blaze of red, yellows, oranges and hues in between. The report from Chimney Rock is especially enticing: “Splashes of red are appearing in the dogwood and sourwood trees, along with yellows in the poplars,” reports Chimney Rock Park. But wait, there’s more: “This is a very good wildflower season for goldenrod, snakeroot, Wingstem and a variety of asters. Brown-eyed Susans and sunflowers are also blooming, with some Pink Turtlehead remaining.”

Enjoy the show on your own on the park’s trail system, or tap into the 11 a.m. naturalist-led hike that will be occurring every Saturday through October, commencing from the Meadows area.

Logistics: Every Saturday at 11 a.m., Chimney Rock Park in Chimney Rock. Admission to the park is $12 for adults, $6 for 5- to 15-year-olds, and free for the 4 and under set. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 75, trending from clear to partly cloudy.

photo by Chuck Hill

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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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