This weekend: A prolific paddle, a beastly run

Perhaps you like the intimacy of paddling, just you and several hundred closer friends. Or maybe you haven’t felt challenged in your last few 5Ks. Or it could just be you’re curious about exploring new places. If you identified with any of the above, read on … .

Photo courtesy


One of the things we love about paddling the eastern part of the state is the intimacy. Swamps and waterways rimmed with giant bald cypress and tupelo gum escorting you through some of the wildest terrain on the East Coast. Just you, an amazing assortment of critters both seen and unseen, and, this Saturday at least, several hundred of your paddling brethren. (And sisteren, since paddling is gender neutral.)

The anomaly this Saturday is the 11th Annual Paddle for the Border, in which a whole bunch of kayakers (and some canoeists) will put in on the Dismal Swamp Canal at the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center in South Mills (Camden County) and paddle north to Chesapeake, Va. It’s BYOB, with breakfast and lunch included in the registration fee. A great opportunity to paddle some water you might not otherwise paddle.

Logistics: Saturday, May 3, 8 a.m. Dismal Swamp Welcome Center, South Mills. $45. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 73.


Perhaps you’ve heard of the Carolina Thread Trail, the 15-county effort to weave trail throughout the Charlotte area. But do you know much more about it? Like, where the trail will run and, more importantly, where it runs now that you can hike? Or, as is the case Saturday, run?

Saturday, you can experience a prime stretch of the existing Thread Trail at the Tread The Thread 5K and 10K. This fundraiser for the trail explores the 390-acre Buffalo Creek Preserve in Mt. Pleasant, taking in a restored oak savannah, active farmland and forested bluffs along Adams Creek. Live music, too.

Logistics: Saturday, May 3, 8 a.m., Buffalo Creek Preserve, Mt. Pleasant. $30 for either race. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Partly sunny, high of 74.

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Got a friend who’s been boasting about all the great trail race times he/she has been posting? Then suggest the two of you run Sunday’s Bearwallow Beast 5K. As the website notes, “ … the Bearwallow Beast 5k features one of the most unrelenting climbs you’ll find in the Appalachians — over 1,400 feet. Traversing asphalt, forest service roads and single-track trail, the course will offer a challenge for even the most experienced runner.”

And since the Beast climbs Bearwallow Mountain, you’ll be assured of great scenery (if you dare to look up) as well. Bearwallow Mountain is gorgeous part of the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge that was conserved by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy in 2009. You can learn more about Bearwallow Mountain and the CMLC’s other handiwork in the high country here.  Live music and a complimentary beer await at the finish.

Logistics: Sunday, May 4, 2 p.m. (late registration commences at 11:30 a.m.), Gerton. More info here.

Sunday forecast: Sunny, high of 76.

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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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