This weekend: Run, hike … snowshoe?

Photo courtesy

There’s a half marathon at the coast and a thoughtful hike in the Piedmont this weekend in North Carolina. And, weather permitting, you can do the unexpected in the high country: go snowshoeing!


Saturday’s Ocean Isle Bridge Run for Food half marathon has been a recent topic of conversation in our household. Our oldest is running the race; a cross-country runner during his days at Enloe High School, this is his first 13.1-miler. We’ve discussed what for him are the unknowns: the advantages and disadvantages of a long flat course, the impact of a usually constant ocean breeze/wind/hurricane-force-blow, the weather. We’ve discussed pace and a target time. All of which has made me wish I was in condition to run a half marathon Saturday at Ocean Isle.

If you, on the other hand, are prepared, then this looks like a great way to start your running new year. From the route map, there appears to be a mix of scenic ocean-front running and protected passage on the second row. The forecast calls for warm (if perhaps wet) conditions, suggesting PRs for the prepared runner.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 11, 9 a.m., Ocean Isle. $45 for the half marathon, there’s also a 5K or $35. More info here.

Saturday forecast: 80 percent chance of rain, high of 68.

Photo courtesy


Every winter, the Eno River Association celebrates the Triangle’s most popular waterway with a series of Sunday afternoon hikes. The ERA’s Winter Hike Series emphasizes a different stretch of the Eno each week, and the hikes are lead by knowledgeable guides who share insights about the area’s cultural and natural history.

This Sunday’s hike: “Fanny’s Ford and the Road to Holden Mill.” Joe Liles leads this hike in the park’s Fews Ford Access, with stops at the old Holden Mill and the old roadbed that once connected the area to civilization.

Logistics: Sunday, Jan 12, 2 p.m. More info here.

Sunday forecast: Sunny, high of 58.

Photo courtesy Sugar Mountain Ski Resort


When it comes to outdoor adventure, North Carolina is full of surprises. Scuba diving with sand tiger sharks in the Atlantic, paddling with alligators along the coast, excellent mountain biking in the non-mountainous Piedmont. This weekend you can add snowshoeing to the state’s unlikely mix.

Saturday, as part of National Winter Trails Day, Sugar Mountain Ski Resort in Banner Elk hosts a day of free snowshoeing expeditions on the mountain. The trips run every hour and the equipment is provided. If you’ve never snowshoed, you should plan to participate. Modern snowshoes let you glide across the top of the deepest snow, getting you into areas of the backcountry typically inaccessible in winter. Read more about the experience in this piece written by Asheville Citizen-Times Outdoor Editor Karen Chavez.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Hourly guided trips reporting every hour on the top of the hour. More info by calling 828.898.4521, ext. 200, or by going here.

Saturday forecast: The forecast for this one isn’t so good: High of 46 and a 90 percent chance of rain. But forecasts can change; check the link before heading out and check with Sugar Mountain to make sure the event is a go.

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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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