Another weekend after a week of rain is upon us. Another weekend in which we apparently dodge a bullet and enjoy adventure-worthy weather. In the Piedmont, for instance, we’re looking at temperatures in the low 80s on Saturday, high 80s on Sunday. It should be in the mid to upper 60s when you wake, there’s a chance of thunderstorms Saturday afternoon. Father’s Day (Sunday) is looking good for an outing with pops.
Some things to keep in mind:
North Carolina State Parks
While the parks have reopened, there are some targeted areas remain closed. For instance, at Eno River State Park in Durham/Orange counties, the Cabelands and Pleasant Green access remain closed, largely because they serve a popular gathering area: the Eno Quarry. And, the park is serious about keeping those spots closed: “Your vehicle will be subject to citation or towing,” states the park website.
Keep in mind, too, that even though a park may be open, it may not be by the time you get there. Many of the parks have enacted caps on occupancy; once they reach that point, the gates are closed. From there, a car is only able to enter the park when another car leaves. Keep in mind, too, that parks close for reasons other than a pandemic. Elk Knob State Park, for instance, has been closed off and on for treatment of a gypsy moth problem. If it’s not one thing … .
Advice: First, check the park website to see what is and isn’t open. And immediately before heading out, check the N.C. State Parks Facebook page, where they’ve been good about posting when a park reaches capacity.
North Carolina’s National Forests
The Pisgah National Forest closed a significant number of trails, campgrounds and recreation areas at the beginning of the pandemic, but have gradually reopened a significant portion of the forest. Thursday, they announced another round of reopening, including the Black Mountain Campground, Looking Glass Falls, Pink Beds and more. Find the latest openings here. Check the status of other areas in our national forests here.
Other popular areas
Before heading out for any adventure, we recommend checking ahead to see what is and isn’t open. Here are the websites for some of the other popular adventure destinations in our midst.
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Shenandoah National Park
- Virginia National Forests (George Washington and Jefferson)
- Virginia State Parks 05.14.2020
The rains of the past week mean water levels will be up this weekend — way up, in some areas, such as eastern North Carolina. If you like paddling flat water but don’t consider yourself a whitewater paddle, you definitely want to check conditions for your favorite run before putting the boats on the car and heading out. A lot of our normally placid creeks and streams will have undergone a personality change in the past week. You can find up-to-date stream level and flow information at this U.S. Geological Survey site. If you’re not sure what those numbers mean in relation to the stream you’d like to paddle, we recommend getting a copy of a reliable guidebook, such as “Paddling Eastern North Carolina,” by Paul Ferguson. Among other things, the book puts those numbers into context.
If you’re a lake paddler, the high water levels means that some normally accessible areas may be inaccessible, but access to others may be enhanced. Either way, expect a different experience on the water this weekend.
Enjoy the weekend!
If you’re hiking this weekend, be prepared for two challenges: heat and possibly high stream crossings, in light of the week’s persistent and sometimes heavy rains. We have two guides that offer concise advice for dealing with both situations: