In December, a fire burned 1,050 acres at Pilot Mountain State Park. The Grindstone Fire was caused by a campfire run amok. While it caused no damage to structures, it singed a good deal of the 3,700-acre park north of Winston-Salem. And while the “damage” to the natural world may have looked significant, that’s not necessarily the case. Periodic wildfires are important to the health of any forest, which is the topic of Growth After Fire, an hour-long program at Pilot Mountain State Park Saturday at 2 p.m. “Join a park ranger to discuss fire’s effects on plant and tree growth after a fire,” according to the N.C. State Parks website. Learn more here. (Can’t make Saturday’s session? It will be repeated Sunday at 2 p.m.)
Is there an avid birder in you eager to take flight? A good introduction would be Sunday’s Spring Bird Hike at Lake James State Park in Nebo. Lake James’ expansive shoreline (it runs for 150 miles) gets lots of bird action this time of year as migrants flee their wintering grounds in the south to head north for the summer. Warblers, vireos, tanagers, grosbeaks, buntings — they’re all making the trip. The session is at 8 a.m. More info here.
Until recently, exploring Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest in the coastal plain southeast of Fayetteville was a bit of a challenge, primarily because the educational forest was closed on weekends (when most of us have a chance to be educated). That’s no longer the case, with weekend hours recently added. In addition, they’re also offering guided hikes on the first Saturday of every month, starting this Saturday through October. The First Saturday – Guided Hike with a Ranger is short, about a quarter mile, but rich in education on the ways of a coastal plain forest. It’s free. For more info, go here.
Speaking of first Saturday’s, join the Triangle Land Conservancy for its First Saturday Hike at Brumley North this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Brumley North, between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, packs a wide array of ecological experiences — from hard oak forest, to grass fields, to boggy wetlands — along just 3 miles of trail. Learn more and register here.
Got a hankerin’ to roll up your sleeves and make something? A trail, perhaps? The Tar River Land Conservancy is looking for help Saturday to help build 1.3 miles of new trail at its Robertson Creek Nature Preserve in Creedmoor. Not only is the 3-hour Trail Building at Robertson Creek Preserve a good workout, it’s also a great way to see how a trail is designed and built. Starts at 8:45 a.m., ends noonish. New to trail building? No problem — you’ll be teamed up with an experienced trail builder. Learn more here.
Weatherwise, there’s a chance of rain this weekend, mostly Saturday, and cooler temperatures.
That’s far from everything going on this weekend, but it’s a good start. A great weekend, all-in-all, to GetOut! and explore!
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Looking ahead to summer hiking
We have three weekly hiking series scheduled for this summer:
GetHiking! Friday Morning Summer Hike Series, 8 hikes at 8 a.m. on trails in the western Triangle. More info here.
- GetHiking! 50+ Wednesday Evening Summer Hike Series, 10 hikes at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, on trails in the western Triangle (plus popsicles at the end of each hike). More info here for single hikers, here for couples and families.
- GetHiking! Summer 2022 Hike & Paddle Series, 8 hikes, on Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings, plus two paddle trips, on the Haw River and the Three Rivers Area in Durham County. More info here.
We also have three weekend hiking trips, all in the mountains on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Each weekend includes about 20 miles of guided hiking, camping, and meals. The trips are: