Fire, when it comes to the natural world, is often associated with loss — the loss of trees, of shrubs, of grasses, of animal life. But it also plays a key role in keeping the forest alive. This year, North Carolina is celebrating that role, proclaiming it the Year of Fire in its State Parks.
If you’re curious about the positive role fire plays in rejuvenating the woods, you can check out a variety of resources on the topic at the N.C. State Parks website, here.
You can also attend one of the many interpretive programs that the parks will be putting on this year, two of which are Sunday …
Wildland Fire Hike, Sunday, 1:30 p.m., Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap. On this 1.2-mile hike you’ll get to see and learn about a prescribed burn up close. The up close in this case being at the top of Stone Mountain Falls. A nice hike in from the Upper Trailhead Parking Area. Learn more here.
Fire in the Toolbox, Sunday, 3 p.m., Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines. Fire plays an especially crucial role in keeping a long leaf pine forest alive, and long leaf pines are what this natural area is all about. The session includes a short walk to a recently burned area. Learn more here.
Turtle Superpowers in Winter, Saturday, 10:30 a.m., Eno River State Park, Durham. “Turtle Superpowers” — do we like this hike simply because it reminds us of Tooter Turtle, that SuperTurtle from our youth? Or is it because we’ve always wondered just what happens to our turtle friends in winter? A little of both, perhaps. Learn more about the program, which is free, but requires preregistration by calling 919.383.1686, here.
GetHiking! this weekend
What are our GetHiking! groups in North Carolina and Virginia up to this weekend? Plenty, thanks for asking …
GetBackpacking! Winter Series: AT from Max Patch to Hot Springs, Friday, January 17, 9 a.m. – Sunday, January 19, 1 p.m., 152 Bridge St., Hot Springs. Moderately Strenuous. 20 miles. Hike highlights: 360 degree views from Max Patch. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Triangle: Falls Lake / MST Flatlander, Saturday, January 18, 9 a.m., Hickory Hill Boat Ramp, Durham. Moderately Easy. 6 miles. Hike highlights: Follows Fall’s Lake water line, flat, pine and hardwood. Learn more here.
Virginia Beach: Disaster+Travel+Wilderness First Aid Course, Saturday, January 18, 8:30 a.m., 4700 Powhatan Ave., Norfolk. Highlights: Come away with actual do-it-yourself care-giving skill and confidence, and 2-year SOLO certification. Counts as WFR Recertification, too. No prerequisites.. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Chestnut and Grooms Ridge Circuit Hike, Sunday, January 19, 8 a.m., 400 Ray C Hunt Dr., Charlottesville. Strenuous. 9.2 miles. Hike highlights: Chestnut Ridge Trail, Grooms Ridge Trail, Winter time views, Wild Oak Trail, Todd Lake Recreation Area, George Washington National Forest. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Chessie Nature Trail, Sunday, January 19, 10 a.m., 400 Ray C Hunt Dr., Charlottesville. Moderate. 6.5 miles. Hike highlights: The trail has a relatively flat grade with a gravel and dirt surface, and follows the contours of the Maury River. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Doyles River and Jones Run Circuit, Monday, January 20, 8:15 a.m., 5870 Rockfish Gap Turnpike, Crozet. Moderately Strenuous. 8.5 miles. Hike highlights: Brown Gap, Appalachian Trail, winter time ridge line views, Doyles River Falls Trail, Doyles River Falls, Jones Run Trail, Jones Run Falls. Learn more here.
Live the video
Today’s video is from Saturday’s hike in the Butner Game Lands north of Falls Lake, in the Triangle area. The hike was part of our GetHiking! Winter Wild Series, a monthly hike in the winter that spends much of its time off trail. Our next Winter Wild hike is to Hanging Rock State Park, on February 22; learn more about that hike here. As for the Butner Game Lands, you can learn about exploring it here.
More Weekend Options
Looking for more options for weekend adventure? Check out our GetOut! Find An Adventure resource page here.