Your weekend: Horse around, run through the night, canoe a mountain river

We’ve got another hot summer weekend on tap. Some options: spend it on a barrier island checking out the horse scene; take a run through the cool(er) night; paddle a mountain river.

Coast / coastal plain

WP.Coast.nccoastchamberOne of the reasons you love to head into the wild is the opportunity to see wildlife. For a lot of us, the bigger the wildlife the better. Swimmers at the coast love the opportunity to be near dolphins, scuba divers savor a shark encounter, hikers live for a bear sighting. And when it comes to exploring the Cape Lookout National Seashore, it’s the wild horses that inhabit the island that draw our attention.

This year, as part of Cape Lookout’s 50th Anniversary and the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration, the park is holding periodic Horse Sense and Survival trips. Wildlife Biologist Sue Stuska leads this outing, which provides “an exciting and enlightening glimpse into the relationships, behavior, and survival of these wild animals. Participants will gain an appreciation of all that can be gleaned while watching from a distance. They will understand how to determine an appropriate position and distance for watching that doesn’t affect the horses’ natural behaviors.”

Sounds like a great way to spend a day at the coast, a day like this Saturday.

Vital Stats: Saturday, July 9, 1:30-4:30 p.m., meeting at the Harkers Island Visitor Center. There’s a ferry fee to the island of $16 for adults, $9 for kids 11 and under. More information by calling 252.728.2250 ext. 3001, or going here, where you can also learn when additional sessions are scheduled.

Saturday forecast: High of 92, mostly sunny.

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Looking ahead: Soundside Hike, every Tuesday at 9 a.m., Jockey’s Ridge State Park. More info here.


WP.PiedmontWe recently promoted a Bootlegger 5K, in Charlotte, and while we hate to go back to the well too often, we can’t resist promoting this Saturday’s Bootlegger in Pleasant Green, near Greensboro.

In part, that’s because of the course, following the popular high school and college 5K course at Hagan Stone Park. It’s a nice run in daylight, even better at night — especially when the day time temperature will reach into the mid-90s: by race time of 8:55, the mercury will have dipped to a not-quite-brisk-but-certainly-more-tolerable 81. A flashlight or headlamp is required of all runners. Post-race refreshments include two moonshine drink tickets for participants 21 and older.

Vital Stats: Saturday, July 9, 8:55 p.m., Hagan Stone Park, Greensboro. $43. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Race time temperature of 81 under dark skies.

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Looking ahead: Canoe the Mayo, Mayo River State Park, Saturday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m. More info here.


Canoeing the New. Photo:
Canoeing the New. Photo:

Not many adventures sound more adventurous than a mountain canoe trip. Immediately, it conjures images of deftly negotiating a string of rapids and drops amid a froth of whitewater and a cacophony of whoops!

And if that’s what your friends choose to think when you tell them you took on the New River near Laurel Springs this Sunday, who are you to tamper with their perception of you as a devil-may-care, buckskin-clad paddler. In reality, though, this paddle on the New through New River State Park is one relatively placid water with great views! And, you’ll be led by a park ranger, who will offer basic canoe instruction along the way.

Vital Stats: Guided Canoe Trip, New River State Park, Wagoner Access, Sunday, July 10, 1 p.m. Free, but space is limited; 336.982.2587 to reserve a spot.

Sunday forecast: Sunny skies, high of 81.

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Looking ahead: Elk Knob Community Headwaters Day, Elk Knob State park, Todd, Saturday, Sept. 10. 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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