This weekend: Test the waters

Grandfather Mountain

Sample a triathlon in Cary or sample hiking on Grandfather Mountain. Or, at the coast you can workout for a cookout. Good options all for the last weekend before Labor Day weekend.


Always a smart move, scheduling a cookout with a workout, which is the gist of Saturday’s Rise and Grind Workout and Cookout Saturday morning at Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington.

Sponsored by Cape Fear Boxing, a local non-profit that offers fitness and other programs for at-risk youth and troubled teens, there will be a pair of workouts in the morning followed by a cookout. Live music and a raffle, too. Sounds like a good way to celebrate the last weekend before Labor Day, viewed by many as the official end of summer.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 23, with workouts at 9 and 10:30 a.m., cookout to follow. $15. More info here or by contacting Rasheed Diaab at 910.200.0870 or

Saturday forecast: High of 83, chance of afternoon thunderstorms.


As you run down your to-do list for the summer, there’s a glaring omission: you didn’t do your first triathlon.


Sunday, you can cross try-a-tri off your list with the ingenious Plunge Pedal & Plod at the Triangle Aquatics Center in Cary. This 17-year-old event is made for the person, adult or kid, who wants to sample a triathlon without investing a lot of time and energy. Try it and like it? Let that chapter of your life begin. Not so much fun? At least you tried.

The PP&P comes in four sizes, ranging from 50-yard pool swim, 4K bike ride and 1.6K run, to an 400 meter swim, 12K bike ride and 3K run. This is a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event.

Logistics: Sunday, Aug. 24, 7 a.m. (course closes at 10 a.m.). $70, non-USA Triathlon members must buy a one day membership ($10 for 17 and under, $18 otherwise). More info here.

Sunday forecast: Morning high in the low 70s, overcast.


Saturday at Grandfather Mountain State Park it’s the Three Bears of hiking. Four Bears, actually.

The Chargers and ReChargers Hiking Club of Boone is conducting hikes for various ability levels. A newcomer to hiking? Check out the Easy 2.0-mile roundtrip from the Profile Trail trailhead: a lovely wander through a mature hardwood forest. Up for a little more? The Moderate 3.5-mile round trip tops out at Foscoe View and gains a total of 500 vertical feet. If you’re willing to venture into Strenuous territory there’s the 5.5-mile trip to Shanty Springs (1,600 feet), while the Very Strenuous hike gains a total of 2,046 feet over seven miles as it tops out at Calloway Peak.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 23, four hikes, all starting at 8:30 a.m. The hikes are free, but preregistration is required, by Friday, by calling the park office at 828.963.9522. Learn more about the park here.

Saturday forecast: High of 79, cloudy, 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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