This weekend: Boat, bike, hike

Friday kicks off a 10-day celebration of cycling in Raleigh, while Saturday’s Paddle for the Border marks the annual spring migration of paddlers on the Dismal Swamp Canal. Meanwhile, in the mountains, check out the high season for high mountain wildflowers with the High Peaks Association.


Paddle-for-the-Border-300x160Normally, when we think of paddling we think of an intimate escape on placid waters, perhaps with a friend or two, perhaps alone. We usually don’t think of rubbing blades with several hundred fellow paddlers. But if you plan on participating in Saturday’s Annual Paddle for the Border, you best change your mindset.

Now in its 12th year, the paddle attracts hundreds who make the 7.5-mile trip on the Dismal Swamp Canal from South Mills in North Carolina to Chesapeake in Virginia. It’s a paddlepalooza, a celebration of paddling that includes a shuttle and an apres paddle picnic.

Logistics: Saturday, May 2, 8 a.m., Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills. $40 registration includes shuttle and picnic lunch. For more information, go here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 72.


cropped-Oak-Spokes-logo_rgb-06Friday kicks off the 10-day celebration of cycling known as the Oaks & Spokes Festival in Raleigh.

A range of events are on tap (as are a range of beers, in some instances), from Friday’s Capital City Ride and Raleigh Bikes Art Show, to Sunday’s Crit de Mayo and Triangle Tweed Ride, to a Bike-In Movie, a Bike Prom, a FrankenBike Block Party and more. If you like bikes, you’ve got 10 days of celebrating ahead of you.

Logistics: The 3rd Annual Oaks & Spokes Festival starts Friday, May 1, and runs through Sunday, May 10. For a complete rundown of events, visit the Oaks & Spokes website.

Weekend forecast: At present, WRAL says rain should leave the area by noonish Friday, leaving clear skies and temperatures in the mid 70s to low 80s into midweek of next week.


Blackstock Knob
Blackstock Knob

Like to explore the lesser-visited features of the North Carolina high country? Then check out the High Peaks Association, which, among other things, leads regular hikes to some of the mountains’ less-appreciated sites.

This Saturday, for instance, the High Peaks Association will lead a 5-mile hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail over Blackstock Knob in Yancey County. Blackstock tops out at 6,320 feet, and in addition to the potential for great views, the spring wildflowers are just beginning to pop at this altitude.

Logistics: Saturday, May 2, 8:30 a.m., meet in Burnsville and shuttle to trailhead. $5 covers cost of shuttle. For more info and to sign up, go here, or call 828.675.9384 or email

Sunday forecast: Sunny, high of 70.

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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 coastal 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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