GetOut! And learn a thing this weekend

Wouldn’t it be nice to emerge from the weekend more knowledgable than when you went in? A bought or two on how to make that happen.

We start with our GetOriented! Finding Your Way in the Woods class. Ever been hiking in the woods, drift into a little reverie, then emerge, look around and think, Where the heck am I? More often than not your still on the trail, where you need to be, just a little further along. But in those few seconds of being mentally misplaced, there’s a real panic. Will I ever see civilization again?

Not to sound like Ron Popeil about to sell you a Dial-A-Matic (“Makes a perfect gift!”), but you can erase that fear in just three easy and fun hours with our GetOriented! Finding Your Way in the Woods clinic. We start with a quick overview of how to use a compass and read a map, then head down the trail and off to help you learn these new skills and navigate the woods with minimal fear of getting lost. Our next session is this Sunday at Umstead State Park, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Learn more and sign up here.

You’ll find 32 learning opportunities in North Carolina State Parks this weekend. Among them:

  • Carnivorous Plan Hike, Saturday, 10 a.m., Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach. The Wilmington area is one of the few places where you can find carnivorous plants. On this hike on the Flytrap Trail a ranger will help you identify several and explain why you needn’t fear these meat eaters but a fly shouldn’t get too comfortable around them. Free, but space is limited and preregistration is required. Learn more here.
  • Appalachian Rainforest, Saturday, 11 a.m., Mount Mitchell State Park, Burnsville. Appalachian rainforest? Atop Mount Mitchell? You’d probably heard that Mount Mitchell, above 6,000 feet, was more of a boreal forest. In fact, the ranger leading this hike will talk about weather, climate, natural history, the local ecosystem and “what makes the Black Mountains to unique.” Learn more here.
  • Mountain Stream Ecology, Sunday, 2 p.m., Grandfather Mountain State Park, Banner Elk. You love to hike along a babbling mountain brook; you’re soothed by its sounds. But do you know what it’s saying? You’ll find out on this ranger-led hike. Learn more and sign aboard here.
  • The Amazing Mammals of Crowders Mountain, Sunday, 2 p.m., Crowders Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain. What mammals call Crowders Mountain home? Where do they live? When are they out-and-about? What do they eat? So many questions — and so many answers in this half-hour program. Learn more here.

Too hot for you to get out in the mid-day heat and learn? What about after the sun sets? Two options this weekend:

  • A night hike at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

    Nocturnal Nature Hike, Saturday, 8:30-10:30 p.m., Lake Johnson Park’s Thomas G. Crowder Woodland Center, Raleigh. Under a full moon, “We will call for owls and nightjars, look for evidence of mammals, and identify singing amphibians.” $4. Learn more and register here. 

  • Stars and Planets, Saturday, 9 p.m., Mayo River State Park, Mayodan. The Greensboro Astronomy Club graciously brings out its telescopes and expertise to help you discover what’s twinkle twinkling up above the world so high / like a diamond in the sky. Learn more and sign up here.

Go forth this weekend and learn!

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