This weekend: Great weather, great times

Do you know me? photo courtesy N.C. Coastal Federation

This weekend offers a reprieve from the recent run of summerlike weather. With highs no higher than 75 forecast statewide, the weather should be good for just about any pursuit, from birding at the coast, to hiking in the Piedmont to ride in the mountains.


We find the outdoor experience is enhanced when we know a little more about the outdoors we’re exploring. When we’re exploring the coast, which is especially rich in flora and fauna, that can be a real challenge.

That’s why we’re recommending Sunday’s Birding on the White Oak River. Actually, becoming more creek-smart is just one reason we suggest this event. Also: 1) it’s on the White Oak River and Bogue Sound, which goes from intimate to expansive in a short distance, enhancing its intrigue; 2) it benefits a worthy organization, the N.C. Coastal Federation, which does a great job protecting our coastal resources; and, 3) it’s led by local birding expert Joanne Powell. The trip is on a covered ferry.

Logistics: Sunday, May 18, 10 a.m., Swansboro. $20. More info at 252.393.8185 or here.

Sunday forecast: High of 74, mostly sunny skies.

Hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake.


The Piedmont hiking season will soon draw to a close: somehow, warm, muggy summer weather fails to inspire a soul to hike a cobweb-crossed trail.

But this weekend, the weatherpeople have given us a reprieve: a cold front arriving shortly will drop weekend temperatures into the mid-70s under sunny skies — perfect weather, in our opinion, for a hike. A long hike. Which is what GetHiking! Triangle has planned for Sunday: as part of its ongoing celebration of Mountains-to-Sea Trail Month, the group will hike a 15-mile stretch of the MST along Falls Lake, from NC 50 west to Santee Road. (Shorter options of 7 and 11 miles are available).

Added attraction: Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail Executive Director Kate Dixon joins the group to answer any question you may have about the MST and its march to become an 1,150-mile statewide trail, linking Clingman’s Dome on the Tennessee line with Jockey’s Ridge at the coast.

Logistics: Sunday, May 18, 7 a.m., Santee Road Access. For more information and to register, visit GetHiking! Triangle.

Sunday forecast: High of 75, mostly sunny skies.

The joy behind the ride.


Mountain rides can be intimidating, in part because most are centuries that offer, as an “easy” option, a metric century. Sixty-two miles in the take-no-prisoners Appalachians may be easier than 100, but still a heck of a challenge, especially for those of us residing in the more casually undulating terrain of the Piedmont and coastal plain.

That’s one reason we recommend Saturday’s Joyride out of Carrier Park in Asheville. Yes, it’s got a monster 77-mile route and a slightly less monstrous 50-mile version. But for those of us yet to get our climbing legs under us, it also has a civil 25-mile option. (There’s also a much shorter Fun Ride for kids.)

The other reason we recommend it is the cause it supports. For that, we refer you to Karen Chavez, outdoors editor of the Asheville Citizen-Times, who covered the ride in yesterday’s paper. Read Karen’s story here.

Logistics: Saturday, May 17,  1 p.m., Carrier Park, Asheville. $5.15 for the Fun Ride, $51.50 for the longer rides (Karen’s story explains the curious pricing structure). More info:, 828.210.9607 or 828.210.9622, or go here.

Saturday forecast: High of 61, 40 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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