Your weekend: A bi, a hike, a rare learning opportunity

There’s a standup paddleboard/beach run at the coast, a dog-and-kid-friendly hike in the Piedmont, and the opportunity to learn key backcountry skills — from axe-slinging to tree felling — in May by spending a few minutes in front of your keyboard between now and Sunday.

Coast: Wrightsville Beach Biathlon

Bike Cycles Finish
The Wrightsville Bi finish (photo courtesy

The Wrightsville Beach Biathlon: get ready for the only race of its kind on the East Coast. A typical biathlon includes swimming and running, but what makes the Wrightsville Beach Biathlon stand out is the replacement of swimming with paddleboarding. The other unique feature: the run portion takes place entirely on the oceanfront sand. The event lasts two day: Friday, there’s a paddle technique clinic and packet pick ups, Saturday, is the race, fat bike demos and more.

Two-day forecast: high of about 56 each day, sunny on Saturday.

Vital stats: Friday and Saturday, Blockade Runner Beach Resort. For race fees, contact Beth Todd at or call 910.256.2251; go here for more info.

Looking ahead: U.S. Open Fat Bike Championship. Open to beginner, sport, and experts. Saturday, March 12. More info here.

Piedmont: Winter Walkabout

The Haw River cascading at Great Bend Park (photo courtesy Burlington Recreation & Parks)
The Haw River cascading at Great Bend Park (photo courtesy Burlington Recreation & Parks)

Come out to Great Bend Park in Burlington this Saturday to hike the Haw River and Island Trails. Dogs and children are welcome on this journey through the woods, that will satisfy your need to get out, to adventure, to explore. No matter what your reason, it feels good to go walk around. The hikes are free, but registration is required at least 24 hours in advance.

Saturday forecast: 58 degrees and mostly sunny.

Vital stats: Saturday, 10:30 a.m.- noon, Great Bend Park, 350 Greenwood Dr. Burlington. Sponsored by Burlington Recreation & Parks. Contact: 336.222.5135; for more info go here.

Looking ahead: 2nd Saturday Outing at Flat Shoals Mountain near Walnut Cove. Sponsored by Piedmont Land Conservancy, Saturday, March 12. More info here.

Mountains: Wilderness Skills Institute

Photo courtesy Wilderness Skills Institute
Photo courtesy Wilderness Institute

Although the Wilderness Skills Institute is not until the end of May — May 23 to June 3 —  the deadline to apply is this Sunday. At this two-week institute, you’ll learn such skills such as sustainable trail building, land stewardship practices, axe-slinging and tree felling by cross-cut saw, wilderness first aid, bridge construction using traditional tools, wilderness interpretation and education, and more. The focus of the institute is on basic to advanced skills needed to work in a wilderness, where motorized equipment is prohibited.

Vital stats: Wilderness Skills Institute, May 23 – June 3, Cradle of Forestry, Pisgah National Forest. Apply online by March 6 here. Free camping is available. Contact: Leanna Joyner with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at 828.254.3708, or Brenna Irrer with SAWS at 828.226.4320. To learn more about the program, go here.

Looking ahead: Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, April 19-April 23, 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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