Your weekend: Have an adventure that sizzles

Another hot summer weekend is on tap. Appropriately, we have some hot ideas on how to spend it.

Coast / Coastal Plain

Walking around Smith Creek Lake (photo:
Walking around Smith Creek Lake (photo:

A lot of folks like the idea of going on a group hike or walk. Trouble is, the vast majority are long and geared toward more advanced hikers. The opportunities to test the trail waters on shorter, friendly hikes are few.

That’s why we like Saturday morning’s Wellness Walk at Smith Creek Park in Wilmington. It’s a friendly distance (1.3 miles) on a friendly surface (pavement) in a most friendly environment. Enjoy the woods and lake, hike with others who aren’t heck-bent on setting a speed record, and discover why walking/hiking is the most popular — and one of the most beneficial — forms of exercise.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 13, 9 a.m., Smith Creek Park, 633 Shenandoah Street, Wilmington. Sponsored by New Hanover County Parks and Gardens. More info by calling 919.798.7275.

Saturday forecast: Sunny with temperatures in the low 80s at hike time.

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Looking ahead: Paddle the Millpond, Saturday, Aug. 27, Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville. More info here.



We all have that one adventure on our list that, for no good reason, we’ve yet to try. Nope, hard as we try, we can’t figure out why it’s yet to be checked from our list.

If fly fishing is that thing for you, then check out Saturday’s Stone Mountain Trout Fishing Guide, at — Anyone? Anyone?Stone Mountain State Park. A ranger will discuss trout species in the park’s designated trout waters, and will also discuss seasons, creel limits and bait restrictions. The program is just 45 minutes, leaving you plenty of time to explore Stone Mountain’s scenic — and challenging — 23 miles of trail.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 13, 1:30 p.m., Stone Mountain State Park. For more information, go here.

Saturday forecast: High of 79, chance of thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: Ascent of the Century, climb Mount Mitchell with N.C. State Parks and the N.C. Museum of Natural Science, Aug. 26-28, $75. More info here.



Are you having a stellar season on the bike? Riding three or four times a week, putting in the miles, crushing the climbs?

Then you’re probably up for a good challenge. Such as Sunday’s Race to the Rock, at Chimney Rock State Park. It’s a 25-mile bike race that gains 900 vertical feet in the last three miles alone (the grade ranges from 7 to 9 percent), finishing at the base of Chimney Rock. Part of the Lake Lure Olympiad.

Logistics: Sunday, Aug. 14, 7:30 a.m., Chimney Rock State Park. $45. More info here.

Sunday forecast: Race time temperature of 81, chance of thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: Asheville Duathlon, 10K off-road run, Sept. 11, 8:30 a.m., Biltmore Estate. More info 828.684.0812, or go 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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