Your weekend: Night hike, fun run, bike with the stars

Another gorgeous fall weekend is on tap, one good for a night hike, a fun run or a mountain road ride with the best in the cycling business.


Raccoons love the night life. Photo courtesy
Raccoons love the night life. Photo courtesy

As daylight continues to dwindle, so, we assume, do our opportunities for outdoor adventure, especially during the work week. But did you know that not all of the natural world goes to sleep when the sun goes down? In fact, for some, sunset means it’s time to rise and shine.

Learn to make the most of the coming dark by signing up for Friday’s Night Hike at Halyburton Park in Wilmington. N.C. Wildlife Educator Beck Skiba leads a two-hour exploration of who’s up after dark in the park, explaining the adaptations that make it possible and why the night shift is preferred by some critters. (She’ll do some fun stuff, too.)

Logistics: Friday, 6-8 p.m., Halyburton Park, 4099 S. 17th St., Wilmington. Free, but pre-registration is required, by calling 910.341.0075.

Friday evening forecast: 70 degrees and darkening (sunset is at 6:22 p.m.)

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Looking ahead: North Carolina Birding Trail Hike, Dec. 15, Halyburton Park. More info here.


c700x420A lot of people run who don’t like running. So why do they run? Because of an add-on, usually something completely unrelated that makes running seem … not like running.

Add-on? you inquire.

Yes, such as Saturday’s Queen City Costume Dash 5K. Thousands of costumed folks will queue up at 5:30 p.m. for a dash through town; for some, the goal will not be to win their age category (of which there are seven) but to win the coveted costume contest.

Some will also show up for another popular non-running reason to run: beer. There’s a pub crawl as well.

Logistics: Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Inside-Out Sports, 1514 S. Church St., Charlotte. $45. More info and to register, here.

Saturday forecast: High of 80 at race time under sunny skies.

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Looking ahead: Battle of the Beasts Competition, Nov. 12, Randolph-Asheboro YMCA, Asheboro. More info here.


32d2c6fe-e535-4553-bcfd-286e4218e97e_69225c7a-5056-a36a-0a3276cee707d606On most bike rides, you ride with some pretty good cyclists. Or at least you see them at the start. In this Saturday’s Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo, those “pretty good cyclists” are actually some of the best pros around. For starters, there’s Brent Bookwalter of Asheville, a four-time Tour de France veteran and 2016 Rio Summer Games Olympian (he created the race with wife Jamie). There’s also Asheville-based Rio Olympian Rushlee Buchanan, along with Jonny Clarke, John Murphy, Matthew Busche, Adrian Hegvary, Ty Magner of Team UnitedHealthcare; Joey Rosskopf of BMC Pro Cycling; and, Lauren Komanski of Twenty16 Pro Cycling.

“Our event is unique in the number of professional riders we bring in to ride with our participants,” Jamie Bookwalter told the Asheville Citizen-Times. “These guys and gals spend the year racing around the world on numerous continents, so it’s such a treat that they give up a precious off-season weekend to support us and our charity, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.”

The ride has course options of 82, 63, and 30 miles, starting from Pisgah Brewing Co. and winding through scenic roads of Black Mountain and Swannanoa Valley.

Logistics: Saturday, 9 a.m., Pisgah Brewing Co., Asheville’s River Arts District. Fees vary. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 78 and sunny.

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Looking ahead: Noland Creek guided hike, Nov. 1, led by Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. $20 members. $35 for new and renewing members. Visit to register.

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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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