This weekend: Water rules

It’s summer, it’s time to hit the water.

A busy day on the Dismal Swamp Canal (Paddle for the Border)


High on the list of many reasons we enjoy the adventure life in North Carolina is the opportunity to paddle a swamp. Does any location scream adventure more than a swamp? Slowly making your way through the tupelo gum and cypress weeping Spanish moss, paddle in hand, wary eye cast into the jungle beyond … throw in a bottle of gin and a dame and it’s “The African Queen” in our own backyard.

A bit of hyperbole, perhaps. But really, what a great adventure and what better place to have it than in the Great Dismal Swamp, the swamp that sets the swamp standard.

And what better way to explore the swamp of swamps than on a ranger-led tour, where all the key equipment — save bug spray — is provided. The adventure begins at 1 p.m. Saturday from the boat launch at Dismal Swamp State Park.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 29, 1 p.m., Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills. Free, but space is limited; preregister by calling 252.771-6593.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 84.

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Looking ahead: Of the many times we’ve been told to go jump in a lake over the years, we’ve never been offended by the suggestion. Rather, we’ve heeded the advice, always to our delight. So we see no reason to believe you’ll be offended by the Sept. 6 Go Jump in the Lake 5K, 10K & Fun Run at Springs Lake Park in Boiling Springs Lake. More info here.

Lake Tillery (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)
Lake Tillery (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)


It’s like a mountain paddle without having to drive to the mountains. Actually, you do drive to the mountains, but in this case, the Uwharrie Mountains, conveniently located in the heart of the Piedmont.

Saturday, Morrow Mountain State Park on the west edge of the Uwharries offers Introduction to Canoeing on Lake Tillery, which includes a lovely mountain backdrop. Learn something new and learn it in a scenic setting. Hard to beat that.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 29, 9-11 a.m., Morrow Mountain State Park, Albemarle. Free, but space is limited; reserve a spot by calling 704.982.4402.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 89.

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Looking ahead: UGG: that’s the onomatopoetically appropriate acronym for the Umstead Gravel Grinder mountain bike races of 50 and 100 miles at Umstead State Park in Raleigh on Oct. 31. More info here.


Fly fishing in the Rockies
Fly fishing in the Rockies

Fly fishing: you’ve likely been intrigued by the notion, but have had no idea how get into — or at least sample — the pursuit. Perhaps you’ve been intimidated by the perceived cost as well.

Sunday, South Mountains State Park offers the opportunity to wade and sample the sport with Fly Fishing 101. The class will be taught by Jeff Newton and Bob Tupper, both instructors with Project Healing Waters, both members of Trout Unlimited. All materials provided. Learn a thing, then test your new skills on Jacob Fork. (North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission fishing regulations apply.)

Logistics: Sunday, Aug. 30, 2 p.m., South Mountains State Park, Connelly Springs. 828.433-4772 to reserve a spot.

Sunday forecast: High of 83, chance of thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: Why the Southcliff Black & Blue Classic trail race on Sept. 19? Because the race organizers promise “the best prizes and post-race party of any [race] in the area including a catered lunch and beer.” Details here.

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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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