This weekend: Hardly a turkey

It’s Thanksgiving weekend! Take the time for a trail trot at the coast, a mountain summit in the Piedmont, or bushwhacking your way through the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard.


imagethumbnailHere’s the perfect way to make amends for today: the Wilmington Roadrunners Club Turkey Trot Trail Race at Carolina Beach State Park. First, it’s only four miles, so there’s not too much penance but you’re not getting off easy, either. Second, it starts at a civil time, 9 a.m. on Saturday. And third, it’s a trail run through Carolina Beach State Park.

That third item is a huge plus because there are so many distractions at Carolina Beach. You run along the banks of the sprawling Cape Fear River (check out the container ships heading in and out of the Port of Wilmington), you run through pine savannah, you run with meat-eating plants nipping at your heels (a slight exaggeration; the Venus flytrap and its carnivorous kind generally go for smaller prey), you climb a mountain (the 60-foot-high Sugarloaf Dune). Before you know it, you’re done.

Logistics: Saturday, Nov. 29, 9 a.m., Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 56, mostly sunny.


640.7011We can’t count the times we’ve mentioned Medoc Mountain State Park to someone and they’ve responded the way your dog responds when you say just about anything: cocked head, puzzled brow, “Ruh?”

Medoc Mountain sits on 2,300 acres of land just an hour and a half northeast of the Triangle. It’s rolling Piedmont woods divided by the lovely Little Fishing Creek. In the midst is 300-foot Medoc Mountain. Maybe it’s not Roan Mountain or the Shining Rock Wilderness, but it is a great little escape close to home (provided home is the Trangle).

It’s also the site of Saturday’s Trek to the Summit, a four-mile hike to the rounded summit of Medoc. The hike is described as moderate and will allow plenty of time for oohing, ahhing and picture taking.

Logistics: Saturday, Nov. 29, 2 p.m., Medoc Mountain State Park in Halifax County. Free, but registration is requested, by calling 252.586.6588.

Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny, high of 51.


GGNC.CedarRockOne of the great things about North Carolina hiking is that you’re constantly discovering new favorite hikes. In September, for instance, we discovered Cedar Rock Mountain up US 276 in the Pisgah National Forest north of Brevard. Saturday, you can discover this scenic hike as well, with the Carolina Mountain Club.

The venerable CMC’s Cedar Rock Mountain Loop is an 8.5-mile route that starts from the Pisgah Fish Hatchery, crosses Butter Gap, bushwhacks up the south ridge of Cedar Rock Mountain and Cat Gap before taking a lunch break on the sunny exposure of Cedar Rock.

Logistics: Saturday, Nov. 29, 8:30 a.m. (carpool meetup time), Pisgah National Forest north of Brevard. To sign up, contact hike leader Bruce Bente at 828.699.6296 or For more on the hike route, go here.

Saturday forecast: High of 56, sunny.

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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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