This weekend: We get the fun off to an early start

Start your weekend Friday evening with a GetHiking! ramble along the Eno River.

Start your weekend Friday evening in the Piedmont, learn how the woods once helped paint their own portraits at Elk Knob State Park, “sneak” into 10 nature programs at the coast. So much to do this weekend, and great weather in which to do it.


When I was in high school, certain friends would buy a ticket for the noon movie on Saturday, then, when it was over, linger in the lobby and slip into the 2 p.m. show. They’d repeat for the 4 p.m., the 6 p.m., the 8 p.m., and the 10 p.m. Kids, honestly.

That approach, however, occurred to me when I saw Saturday’s lineup of programs for the Bald Head Island Conservancy:

  • 8:30am Kayaking the Creeks
  • 9 a.m. Birding BHI
  • 1 p.m. Touch Tank Time
  • 2 p.m. Reptile Round Up
  • 2:30 p.m. Marsh Kid’s Fishing
  • 4:30 p.m. Crabbing & Cast-netting
  • 6 p.m. Ibis Sanctuary Exploration
  • 7:30 p.m. Nocturnal Adventurers
  • 9 p.m. Sea Turtle Ride Along
  • 9 p.m. Turtle Walk

And here’s the thing: you’re not really beating the system — the events are all free.

Logistics: A day of nature programs, Saturday, June 10, from 8:30 a.m. to about 10 p.m., Bald Head Island Nature Conservancy, Bald Head Island. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 82, sunny.

Join the Bald Head Island Conservancy Saturday for a day of learning.

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Looking ahead: Carolina Beach Double Sprint Triathlon, Saturday, June 24, Carolina Beach. More info here.


Some folks go through life under the erroneous assumption that we have a two-day weekend in this country. In fact, it is 2 and a quarter days, the quarter beginning around 5 p.m. Friday.

That gives you plenty of time to join our GetHiking! Triangle group for An Evening Along the Eno, a 4.1-mile hike that begins at 7 p.m. In the light of early evening, we will head out on the Buckquarter Creek Trail, taking the ridgeline option to Buckquarter Creek. There, we’ll cross a wooden footbridge and pick up the Holden Mill Trail, along the Eno. This is an especially rocky stretch of the river: outcrops crowd the river midway, making for some playful scrambles. The return on this figure-8 route begins on a ridgeline and finishes, in the dusk, along the Eno. One of our favorite Triangle hikes, made better in the fading light of day.

Logistics: GetHiking! Triangle: An Evening Along the Eno, Friday, June 9, 7 p.m., Few’s Ford Access, Eno River State Park. More info and sign up, here.

Friday evening forecast: Clear skies with a high of 78 at hike time.

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Looking ahead: Creek Creep, Saturday, June 17, Mayo River State Park, Mayodan. More info here.

View from Elk Knob (photo courtesy North Carolina State Parks)


We like to learn a thing or two when we venture into the woods. Like the difference between a pin oak and a white oak. Or how to ID a tree by its bark. Or where paint comes from. Or used to.

That’s what you’ll learn Saturday afternoon should you plan to attend Elk Knob State Park’s Natural Pigments program. “Find out how the artists of old got their colors and try it out yourself,” says the event description.

Logistics: Natural Pigments, Saturday, June 10, 2 p.m., Elk Knob State Park, Todd. Learn more and sign up here.

Saturday forecast: High of 75 and cloudless.

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Looking ahead: Tips and Tactics for Fishing the New River, Saturday, July 1, 10 a.m., New River State Park. Learn more and sign up 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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