This weekend: Enjoy the warmth

Palmetto boardwalk (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)

After a week of cold and snow throughout much of the state, the swing continues, with unseasonably warm temperatures returning to North Carolina. Get out and warm your bones with a nice hike.


After a week of snow and cold, doesn’t it sound appealing to spend some time in a warm, muggy swamp? Sure it does, and you can, Saturday, at Goose Creek State Park near Washington (our Washington). As the event notice explains, on the Palmetto Boardwalk Hike, you’ll get to, “See the Palmetto swamp as it transitions to a saltwater marsh without getting your feet wet.” (The later in reference to the “boardwalk” portion of the clinic name.)

Even if you do get your feet wet, the hike is worth it. Goose Creek is a well-preserved marsh along the Pamlico Sound, where giant oaks dripping with Spanish moss and a mix of swamp shrubbery make for a good escape.

Logistics: Saturday, Feb. 1, 2 p.m. Goose Creek State Park, Washington, N.C. More info by calling 252.923.2191 or by going here.

Saturday forecast: High of 56, cloudy with fog developing.

Exploring the Cabe Lands along the Eno River.


We tend to push the Eno River Association’s Winter Sunday Hike Series, but for good reason: the hikes explore a different portion of the Eno River Valley every week, are lead by a knowledgable guide, and always result in you taking away a much better understanding of the natural world around you and the cultural world that was here before you. This week, there’s added incentive: there might even still be some snow on the ground, provided you don’t believe in forecasts (see “Sunday forecast,” below).

This week’s hike is at the Cabe Lands Access off Howe Street, and will explore the Fish Dam Road, once an important trading path between villages of first Americans, and the Cabe Mill. ERA board member Joe Liles leads. And, for those of you for whom this is an issue, the hike should over in plenty of time for you to get home and watch the Broncos beat the Seahawks.

Logistics: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2 p.m., Cabe Lands Access, Durham. More info here.

Sunday forecast: 40 percent chance of rain, high of 62.

Looking east, toward Shining Rock, from the Hill Top area.


Several winters ago, I hiked to High Top Tower in the Shining Rock area in the snow. It was one of those memorable days: close to a foot of snow on the ground, nothing but sun overhead and lots of great views.

Sunday, you may get a chance to replicate my experience with the Carolina Mountain Club. They’re doing a 10-mile hike from Camp Daniel Boone up to the ridgeline, where you’ll find great winter views of Shining Rock Wilderness to the east and the Middle Prong Wilderness to the west.

Logistics: Sunday, Feb. 2, 8 a.m., Camp Daniel Boone near Waynesville. To register, call hike leader Brent Martin at 828.524.7400 or email

Sunday forecast: 56 degrees, 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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