This weekend: Warm days, streaking nights

About the only thing this weekend won’t be good for: skiing. Temperatures could hit the mid-70s across much of the state, weather suitable for, say, a 5K at Wrightsville Beach. Or a plant ID hike in the mountains. Or maybe hanging out after dark and watching the sky spark with the Geminids meteor shower.


Need to squeeze in one more 5K for the year (even if you aren’t currently be training for a 5K)?

Check out the Jingle Bell 5K Run out of the Wrightsville Beach Museum. (Already it sounds good, taking place on flat-as-an-by Wrightsville Beach). The race is around Wrightsville’s Loop, passing a mix of scenic distractions, from historic cottages to winter marshes. Additional distractions in the form of your fellow runners, who are encouraged to dress in holiday apparel (antlers, Santa Claus, Fred Claus, etc.). Proceeds benefit the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History

Logistics: Saturday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m., Wrightsville Beach Museum, 303 W. Salisbury St., Wrightsville Beach. $15-$30. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 60 at race time under mostly sunny skies.

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Looking ahead: Huggins Island History Hike, Hammocks Beach State Park, Swansboro, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. More info here.


Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

Jumpin’ Geminids!

Yep, it’s that time of year again, when the Geminids meteor showers streak the December night sky. If you’ve ever been frustrated by attempts to view the annual display on your own, or if you’re just into group meteor showers, head to Lake Rim Park in Fayetteville Saturday evening for an old-fashioned viewing. Cosmic experts will be on hand to discuss asteroids, meteorites and comets (and the differences between them). Brink a lawn chair or a blanket — and dig out the Hawaiian short and jams; it’s gonna be warm.

Logistics: Saturday, Dec. 12, 8-10 p.m., Lake Rim Park, 2214 Tar Kiln Dr., Fayetteville.Free. More info here. Check the Environmental Education Centers of North Carolina calendar, here, for more Geminids events around the state.

Saturday forecast: Mostly clear, highs in the upper 50s during the viewing period.

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Looking ahead: First Day Photography Hike, Friday, Jan. 1, 8 a.m., Umstead State Park, Raleigh. More info here.


Know your winter greens
Know your winter greens

It’s a welcome sight on a winter’s hike. After miles of gray and brown, you suddenly find yourself immersed in green. It’s a welcome relief and you’d like to pay thanks to these forest dendrozens who maintain a cheerful palette of green no matter the season. Just one thing?

Who are they?

Find out who these standard-bearers of year-round green are on the Winter Plant Hike Saturday at Lake James State Park. Park Ranger Kevin Bischof presides.

Logistics: Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m., Holly Discovery Trailhead at Paddy’s Creek Area, Lake James State Park, 2785 N.C. 126, Nebo. More info at 828.652.5047.

Saturday forecast: High of 60 at hike time (on the way to 73 for the day) under mostly sunny skies.

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Looking ahead: First Day Hike, Jan. 1, 11 a.m., Elk Knob State Park, Todd. More info 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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