This weekend: Escape the wintry mix (or embrace it)

Carolina Beach State Park (photo courtesty N.C. State Parks)

One thing about the recent weird winter weather: the breaks are, mercifully, falling on the weekends. Our upcoming one, for instance, is supposed to be dry with temperatures that’ll defrost your winter-weary soul. At least in the Piedmont and at the coast. The mountains, on the other hand, promise more winter fun.


Even Carolina Beach, where you can find the occasional palm tree (albeit an immigrant) was icing over midweek this week. Saturday, though, the high is expected to flirt with 50, and the sun is even scheduled to make an appearance in the afternoon. Sounds appealing, no?

Appealing enough, in our opinion, to check out Saturday’s Biological Wonders program. “Join a park ranger on this hike to see and learn about all the different plant communities here in Carolina Beach State Park,” promises the program description. Some of those plant communities — the brackish marshes, the cypress pond — will make the temperature seem a good five degrees warmer.

Logistics: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2 p.m. Carolina Beach State Park. For more info: 910-458-8206

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy by afternoon, high of 48.


Modesty aside, the best hike on the books for this weekend is our GetHiking! hike Sunday in the Birkhead Mountain Wilderness of the Uwharrie National Forest. The Birkheads present a nice challenge (bigger climbs than you’ll find elsewhere in the Piedmont) and long stretches of solitude. And, they’re centrally located in what the local boosters like to call North Carolina’s Central Park. All three of our GetHiking! groups — GetHiking! Charlotte, GetHiking! Triad and GetHiking! Triangle — will be participating in this hike.

For the more aggressive hiker we have an 11.5-mile option, for the stop-and-smell-the-flowers crowd we have a 7.4-mile option. Both start at noon, albeit from different locations.

Logistics: Sunday, Feb. 16, noon, Birkhead Mountain Wilderness area of the Uwharrie National Forest. For more info, check out the GetHiking! chapter nearest you: Charlotte, Triad, Triangle.

Sunday forecast: Partial sunshine with a high of 47.

The view from near Pot Cove Gap


Sunday’s Carolina Mountain Club hike at Montreat has the potential to memorable on several fronts. On its merits alone, this is a fine way to spend most of a Sunday. This 7.5-mile circuit takes in Lookout Mountain and the Old Mount Mitchell Toll Road up to Pot Cove Gap. From there, it heads back down the mountain on the Graybeard Trail.

The kicker comes if the forecast holds true. Up to a foot of snow is forecast for the area through Friday evening, and light snow is forecast for the hike. Got snowshoes? Bring ‘em.

Logistics: Sunday, Feb. 16, 9 a.m. (carpool meeting time, from Asheville). Montreat. For more info, go here.

Sunday forecast: Light snow early, then clearing with a high of 48 at lower elevations.

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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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