This weekend: Cold stroke of fun

Photo courtesy

We’ve got hikes in the Piedmont (along the Eno River) and in the mountains (up Little Pisgah Mountain), and a hike, of sorts (walking on water counts, right?) at the coast.


The Cold Stroke Classic is on our “Pushing-The-Limits-But-Certainly-Doable” lifetime achievement list. Now in its sixth year, Cold Stroke lets amateurs and more competitive types compete in standup paddleboard racing, on protected waterways, at the coast, in winter. There’s a 3.5-mile course for more recreational types, a 7-mile course for the “elite.”

I’ve only been on a SUP once, but it struck me as a beginner-friendly pursuit, and one that a newcomer could conceivably enter a race for  (provided, of course, you have a wetsuit, and per race regulations, a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD). If you are of a similar belief, then check out the Logistics of participating.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 18, Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Wrightsville Beach. $55 for the rec category, $75 for the elite if registering online, an extra $15 and cash only if signing up on race day. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 43.

Eno Quarry


We’re hard-pressed to think of a better way to spend a winter weekend than by taking a hike. Unless, that is, the hike includes a guide who can enlighten you about the world you’re exploring.

That’s the case with the Eno River Association’s Sunday Winter Hike Series. Every Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., the ERA explores a different stretch of the Eno River with a hike leader who is intimately familiar with both the natural and human history of the terrain. This Sunday’s hike is at the Cabelands Access, an area rich in human and natural history.

Logistics: Sunday, Jan. 19, 2 p.m., Cabelands Access, Eno River State Park. For more info and to sign up, go here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny skies in the afternoon, high of 49.

Little Pisgah Mountain (photo courtesy Carolina Mountain Club)


Who doesn’t want to be on this mountain top (see photo), on a similarly sunny day, on a winter weekend? Sunday is your opportunity to do just that, as the Carolina Mountain Club leads a hike up Little Pisgah Mountain (see photo), which is part of the Florence Preserve in the Hickory Nut Gorge area.

The hike is 10.5 miles and gains about 1,500 feet. The trail to the top passes through an open meadow, with the summit payoff — well, just look at the picture (see photo). And picture yourself on those rocks on Sunday, basking in the winter sun and eating a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich.

Logistics: Sunday, Jan. 19, 9 a.m. Florence Preserve. For more information and to sign up, contact hike leaders Michael and Kathy Cornn, at 828.458.1281 or

Sunday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 45.

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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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