This weekend: Warm up to a hike

What’s the best outdoor activity in cold weather? Taking a hike. This weekend you can do it in a swamp atop a gorgeous Appalachian Mountain and over two high points of the Uwharrie Trail.


Goose Creek, by boat

The best time to hike in a swamp? Right about now, when the temperatures are keeping all the creepy, crawly, bitey critters at bay. And the best way to hike a swamp? Elevated, on a boardwalk.

Which is what they’ll be doing Saturday morning at Goose Creek State Park. The Palmetto Boardwalk isn’t long, but it exposes you to a world that otherwise would be difficult to access.  Pennywort and ferns, Dwarf Palmetto, Spanish moss hanging tinsel-like from the canopy, bald cypress, black willows and live oaks, all the flora you associate with swamps — and on a hike with a ranger who will help you make sense of this evocative ecotone.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 10, 10 a.m., Goose Creek State Park, Washington. More info here: 252.923.2191, more information on Goose Creek State Park, here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny with an afternoon high of 38.


Little Long Mountain (photo courtesy The Land Trust for Central North Carolina)
Little Long Mountain (photo courtesy The Land Trust for Central North Carolina)

Who doesn’t love to discover a new trail? Even better: a new trail that’s actually new.

Saturday and Sunday, our GetHiking! program will explore 6.2 miles of new trail in the Uwharrie National Forest, a northern extension of the Uwharrie National Recreation Trail, from the Jumping-Off Rock trailhead off Flint Hill Road to Pisgah Covered Bridge Road. It’s an especially intriguing stretch, topping both Little Long Mountain, which offers one of the few vistas in the Uwharries, and King Mountain, one of the highest points in the range.

One more reason to do this hike: it will be lead by Don Childrey, author of the “Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide,” the second edition of which was just released. Don knows the natural and human history of the region better than just about anyone.

Logistics: GetHiking! Triangle will do this hike Sunday at 10 a.m. GetHiking! Charlotte and GetHiking! Triad will do the hike Saturday at 10 a.m. For specifics, click on the GetHiking! chapter nearest you.

Weekend forecast: Saturday, sunny with a high of 36, Sunday, cloudy with a high of 44.


Bear Wallow Mountain (photo courtesy Carolina Mountain Land Trust)
Bear Wallow Mountain (photo courtesy Carolina Mountain Land Trust)

There’s a perception that just because you’re going to the mountains for a hike, it has to be a hard hike. In truth, there are lots of hikes for folks who don’t view every outing as an episode of “Survivor.”

Like Saturday’s YMCA-Woodfin hike at Bear Wallow Mountain. It’s a three-mile round trip with just a 500-foot overall elevation gain. You needn’t be a Y member, there’s even a carpool from the Y, at 40 N. Merrimon Ave. The hike is free, $5 for the carpool would be appreciated.

Bear Wallow Mountain: Jan. 10, 8:45 a.m.-3 p.m., YMCA-Woodfin, 40 N. Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Three mile round trip. 500 foot elevation gain. Easy. No need to be a Y member. Bring lunch and water. Dress accordingly. Free. $5 if carpooling. Registration required. Contact Blanca Miller at

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 10, 8:45 a.m.-3 p.m., Bear Wallow Mountain. Free, but pre-registration is required, by emailing Blanca Miller at

Sunday forecast: Sunny, high of 36.

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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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