This weekend: Get out and learn a thing or two

Mount Mitchell: the top of the East Coast

Moving is good. Learning something while you’re on the move is even better. This weekend is a good one for learning on the move.


For many, the key to getting active is to resist the urge to overindulge at the start and expect immediate results. That’s why so many New Year’s resolutions go kaput before January is over: you expect to become Charles (or Charlene) Atlas in just two weeks.

That’s why we like events such as Saturday’s Guided Walking Tour of Forest Hills in Wilmington. On this hour-and-a-half walk you’ll take a leisurely pace through the historic Forest Hills section of Wilmington, learning about “architecture and landscape design within the neighborhood, highlighting the economic, social, and community development. These tours bring attention to the special qualities of the neighborhoods and how they contribute to the city’s quality of life.”

Learning and moving. Pretty good combination.

Logistics: Guided Walking Tour of Forest Hills, Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m., Wilmington. $10. Pre-registration required, by calling 910.762.2511.

Saturday forecast: 86 and mostly sunny at walk time.

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Looking ahead: Can’t make Sunday’s walk? It repeats on July 29. More info here.

Forest Hills walking tour


Conquering our fears: that’s part of why we go outside. We hike at night to get past fearing a dark forest. We go off trail — with map and compass — to explore the less-visited and feel more comfortable navigating the woods. We embrace water crossings as refreshing rather than reject them for the possibility of getting wet.

And yet, we remain fearful of snakes. All snakes.

Sunday, take the first step toward getting past your ophidiophobia by attending Snakes! At Pilot Mountain State Park. Learn how to identify snakes (including the venomous ones), learn about their lives. Learn to appreciate them as one of one of your incentives for heading outdoors.

Logistics: Snakes!, Sunday, July 16, 10 a.m., Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle. More information here.

Saturday forecast: 78 and sunny at event time.

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Looking ahead: Canoe the Yadkin, Thursday, July 27, 10 a.m., Yadkin River Access of Pilot Mountain State Park. More info here.



Hiking in the spruce and pine forests at North Carolina’s highest elevations is like hiking in a different world. Or Canada. If you’re accustomed to the ecozones of the lower Southern Appalachian hardwood forests, you likely find yourself asking, like a confused tourist, “What the heck is that?

Find out “what the heck” on Sunday’s High Elevation Peaks hike at Mount Mitchell State Park. “Join a ranger to understand why the Black Mountain Range and Mt. Mitchell are so unique in North Carolina in terms of its ecology and wildlife,” says the hike description. Then, take a few minutes to head north on the Black Mountain Crest Trail to put your newfound knowledge to work identifying this curious land of boreal delights.

Logistics: High Elevation Peaks, Sunday, July 16, 2 p.m., Mount Mitchell State Park, Burnsville. More info here.

Sunday forecast: 64 degrees under sunny skies.

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Looking ahead: Balsam Nature Trail Guided Hike, Sunday, Sept. 10, Mount Mitchell State Park, Burnsville. More info here.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below. 

Looking ahead: Can’t make Saturday morning’s Build-a-Boat? The event repeats Saturday, July 29 at noon. More info here.


D’ja ever wonder about the weather on top of a mountain? About the highest wind gusts ever recorded? Lowest temperature? Most snow?

Likewise, who hasn’t wondered how they record that information? Saturday is your chance to have these questions answered at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area. Setting out from the picnic area, you’ll make the short clime to MJ’s 4,683-foot summit, home to a North Carolina Climate Office data collection tower, where the mountain will reveal her climatological secrets during the Mount Jefferson’s Climate Tower program.

Logistics: Mount Jefferson’s Climate Tower, Saturday, July 8, 2 p.m., Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny with a high of 76.

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Looking ahead: Can’t make Saturday’s hike, but intrigued all the same by Mount Jefferson? Then consider the Rock Outcrop Hike at the park on Saturday, July 29. 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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