Your weekend: Make it a memorable one

Memorial Day weekend: it may not technically be summer’s meteorological kick off (that comes at 6:34 p.m. on June 20), but it certainly kicks off the season in our psyche. And the weather should be good for kicking if off in any number of adventurous ways, including …


Bennetts Creek Trail at Merchants Millpond
Bennetts Creek Trail at Merchants Millpond

We checked the forecast before recommending Saturday’s 2(ish)-mile hike on the Bennetts Creek Trail at Merchants Millpond State Park. It’s getting a little late in the season for hiking a wetland forest at the coast: high humidity and temperatures in the upper 80s (and beyond) tend to bring out the worst in any hike (pesky flying things, snakes),  especially in a swampy environment. But Saturday’s forecast (see below) should result in a hike that lets you enjoy and learn without worrying about survival.

Vital Stats: Hike Bennetts Creek, Saturday, May 28, 1-3 p.m., Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville. More information here.

Saturday forecast: High in the low 80s, sunny skies.

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Looking ahead: CFCC Bridge-to-Bridge 4.0 Run, Friday, June 10, 7:30 p.m., Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington. More info here.


Don't let the Sun go down on your fun this Saturday at Stone Mountain.
Don’t let the Sun go down on your fun this Saturday at Stone Mountain.

We hate getting booted out of our favorite state park at closing time; we’re always looking for an excuse to stay past dark.

Saturday, we have one, at Stone Mountain State Park, where the Forsyth Astronomy Club will set up their telescopes in the field between campsites 33 and 34 for some public star gazing. The gawking begins at 8 — about the time you’ll be wrapping up your hike on the

Logistics: Astronomy Program, Saturday, May 28, 8 p.m., Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Clear, with a temperature of around 70 at stargazing time.

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Looking ahead: Canoe the Mayo, Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m., Mayo River State Park, Mayodan. More info here.


Bike+Race+Flier+2016-page-001A ride with a raffle!? We’re in.

Not only does the Collier Lilly Ride for N.C. Outward Bound School offer a challenging half century mountain ride, and not only does it benefit a worthy cause (scholarships for western North Carolina kids to attend an NCOBS programs), but it also has a raffle! There are assorted gift certificates in the $40 to $75 range, up to men’s and women’s Osprey Aether backpacks to an Industry 9 turquoise hubset. Pretty good deal for the entry fee (see below).

Logistics: Collier Lilly Ride for the N.C. Outward Bound School, Carrier Park in Asheville, Sunday, May 29, 7:45 a.m. $55. More info here.

Sunday forecast: High of 81, chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: Classic Hikes of the Smokies-Charlies Bunion to Kephart Prong, June 14 with Friends of the Smokies. 10 miles roundtrip. $20 for members, new members may join and hike for $35. 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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