This weekend: Surf ‘n’ slope

It’s the transition season in North Carolina: standup paddleboarding at the coast, skiing in the mountains and hiking in between.


The Surf to Sound Challenge at Wrightsville Beach typically marks the end of the standup paddleboard season at the coast — a late and chilly end, in most folks’ books. The two-day challenge features the 6.5-mile Surf to Sound Challenge and the 4-mile Harbor Island Outer Loop challenge on Saturday, and a new competition, the Surf SUP Competition on Sunday. If you’ve got the will and a wet suit, head on down to Wrightsville Beach.

Logistics: Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16-17. More info here or by calling 910.256.2251.

Weekend forecast: Highs in the low to mid 70s, 30 percent chance of rain Saturday.


I’m smitten by Saturday’s 7.2-mile Birkhead Mountain Wilderness hike in the Uwharrie National Forest of central North Carolina for two reasons. One, the Uwharries this time of year are, in my opinion, at their best. There’s still some color, but most of the leaves have fallen, opening great views through a forest dominated by hardwoods and with more elevation than you’ll generally find in the Piedmont.

The other reason I like it is because I’ll be leading the hike, through the GetHiking! Triangle hiking group. It’s a good mix of beginning hikers and more experienced hikers looking to explore new trails. Good for you beginners to know: it’s a no-drop hike.

Logistics: Saturday, Nov. 16, 9:15 a.m. at the trailhead off Tot Hill Farm Road of NC 49 west of Asheboro (see map here).  More info on the hike here.

Saturday forecast: High of 66 with a 20 percent chance of rain.


When the Southeast ski season “opens,” it’s usually a short initial opening. The cold front that dusted the Piedmont with snow Tuesday evening brought  a dusting to the high country as well. More importantly, it brought cold temperatures that allowed Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain to fire up their snow guns and open for business Wednesday. Today, Cataloochee opened with 6 of 17 runs open and 3 of 5 lifts operating; Sugar had one run open and one lift.

The forecast for the weekend wasn’t promising, but there’s a chance both could remain if overnight lows drop below freezing, counteracting daytime highs in the upper 40s.  If you’re taken by the idea of making first tracks this weekend, we suggest you check before heading out, for the latest news from the slopes.

Logistics: Check for current ski conditions.

Saturday forecast: Highs in the mid 50s.

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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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