GetOut! Cool temps, sun and lingering color …

We love a good weather forecast. We especially love it when we have a big hike planned, which is the case this Saturday.

Saturday at 9 a.m. we kick off our GetHiking! Winter Wild series of hikes designed to take advantage of a woefully under-appreciated season for being in the woods. Winter offers access, vulnerability, brilliant sunlight and best of all, few fellow hikers. That’s especially true on our Winter Wild hikes, which are largely off-trail. We take advantage of old roadbeds, of game trails, of the lack of undergrowth, to explore places inaccessible the rest of the year. Our first hike: the Eno Wilderness.

The Eno Wilderness is an 820-acre tract of land brought into the park in 2004 with the help of the Eno River Association. The beauty of this parcel: it remains an undeveloped part of the park — and it hides some wonderful treasures, including old homesteads, narrow valleys and the highest point in the park. Best of all, we still have four spots remaining for this hike. 

If you’re interested in joining us — the forecast for Saturday morning is for sun and temperatures in the 30s and 40s — you can learn more and sign up to join us here.

Also this weekend:

  • backcountry skills
    Fire good

    How to Build a Campfire, Saturday, 3 p.m., Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle. You ever look around when you’re camping and notice everyone else has a raging bonfire going, an RBF that seems to occur with a snap of the fingers? How do they do that? you wonder. (You suspect lighter fluid, but you’re not sure.) Come and hike a trail or two at Pilot Mountain, then head to the Visitor Center at 3 p.m. where a ranger will share tips and tricks for building the campfire of your dreams. Learn more here.

  • Occoneechee Mountain Geology Hike, Saturday 2 p.m., Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough. This hike is done monthly; we recommend it for this weekend because the fall color at Occoneechee is still good, giving you a second reason to sign up. Learn more here, sign up by calling 919.383.1686.
  • Freshwater Otters, Sunday, 11 a.m., Eno River State Park, Durham. I was hiking once in the Shenandoah and was about to cross a small creek when I noticed a dark rock flapping its fins. Either that’s one cute rock or an otter that seems really big for such a small creek. How does an otter live in such a small body of water? This and other otter-related questions will be answered in this 1-hour session at the Fews Ford Picnic Shelter. Learn more here. 

We’re heading into a busy time of year when you might not havemuch time to get out. Take advantage of the good weather while you can.

GetOut! And enjoy.

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