This weekend: Sun, warmth and the return Daylight Saving Time

Tired of the cold, wet and gray? This weekend promises at least a respite from our wearying winter. Plus, the outdoor adventurer’s old buddy, Daylight Savings Time, returns, gracing us with an extra hour of end-of-day daylight.

Get out and take advantage: You never know how long it will last.

Paddling the millpond (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)


This may be hard to believe because of our ongoing cold, but the time is rapidly running out for an enjoyable hike in a coastal wetlands. Once temperatures start climbing into the mid to upper 60s, all kinds of critters begin to emerge that can take some of the fun out of exploring a forested wetlands.

Thus, with temperatures expected to stay in the 50s Sunday, we suggest you check out the Wonder Wetlands hike at Merchants Millpond State Park near Gatesville. On this two-mile hike on established trail into a wild forest, a ranger will talk about the park’s wetlands and how they affect plants, animals and people.  In addition, we recommend you get there two hours early, rent a canoe ($5 first hour, $3 every subsequent hour) and explore the millpond.

Logistics: Sunday, March 9, 3 p.m. Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville. Learn more about the park here, for more info on the hike, call 252.357.1191.

Saturday forecast: High of 59, partly sunny.

Exploring one of the many creeks that feeds into Jordan Lake.


Running or biking on the American Tobacco Trail, we usually stop on the bridge section over White Oak Creek and contemplate the waterway’s path. Downstream, we know that the creek empties into Jordan Lake. But upstream, where exactly does the creek go? And how much farther can you paddle up it?

Find out the answer to these and other White Oak Creek questions Saturday, when Jordan Lake Ranger Steve McMurray leads a three-hour paddle up White Oak Creek. The trip commences from the Crosswinds Boat Ramp, paddles a stretch of open water on Jordan Lake, then probes White Oak Creek. Recommended for experienced paddlers only.

Logistics: Saturday, March 8, 1-4 p.m. Crosswinds Boat Ramp at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. For more information on Jordan Lake, go here, for information on the paddle trip and to register, call 919.362.0586, ext. 219.

Saturday forecast: High of 65, partly sunny.

Waterfalls abound at DuPont State Forest (photo courtesy of


DuPont State Forest between Hendersonville and Brevard has nearly 100 miles of trail, a sizable number for a tract of land just over 10,000 acres. With so many trails to choose from, picking a circuit can be a challenge, both from the standpoint of optimizing your scenic return and from the standpoint of suddenly realizing you have no idea where you are.

Good reasons to sign up for Sunday’s 12-mile hike sponsored by the Carolina Mountain Club. Attractions along the way: Lake Imaging, Grassy Falls, Thomas Cemetery, Wintergreen Falls, Stone Mountain and “the old firing range.” And because it’s the first day of Daylight Savings Time, you’ll have an extra hour of sunlight to savor the scenery.

Logistics: Sunday, March 9, 9 a.m. For more information and to register, contact hike leader Jan Onan,, 828.698.3237. For more information on the route, go here.

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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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