Category Archives: Hiking

WOW, is this a great weekend for getting out!

Wings Over Water, feet on cliff faces, heads in the sky and gorgeous fall weather. What better reasons for getting out this weekend?

Coast

If you’ve ever needed incentive to get outdoors, Wings Over Water is it. The appropriately acronymed “WOW,” in its 14th year, is a six-day celebration of the wildlife and natural history (as well as human history as it relates to the natural world) of Eastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks. Beginning this past Tuesday and running through Sunday, more than 100 guided programs are offered covering just about every element of the natural world in this surprisingly wild oasis on the eastern seaboard. Saturday alone, there are birding programs at Bodie Island, South Pond, Old Oregon Inlet, Cape Hatteras and Portsmouth Island; a tour exploring the natural and human history of Portsmouth Island village; digital photography workshops; an owl prowl; a sunset canoe tour of the Alligator River; and a night tram tour of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. read more

Breaking in a new stretch of the Falls Lake Trail

“Usually,” Alan observed, “we wait until we’ve been hiking a while before we get lost.”

Indeed, getting lost before we could even find the trailhead was a record. It was also a tribute to the trail, five newly opened sections of the Falls Lake portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which is expanding at breakneck pace through the Triangle. Likely by year’s end, and possibly at a Nov. 21 Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail workday, 60 miles of continuous trail will exist from the Falls Lake dam in Wake County to Pennys Bend on the Eno River in Durham County.  That about 37 of those miles — from NC 50 northwest — have been blazed and cleared since 2007 is thanks entirely to FMST volunteers who show up once a month to rake, dig, hack and otherwise clear trail. That we were slightly challenged finding the trailhead for Section 20 wasn’t surprising considering how quickly this transportation project is evolving. read more

Weekend plans? Two if by land, one if by air

The first weekend of November? Really!?

You know what that means — time is running short to explore the outdoors before the weather gets really cold. A few of your options this weekend:

Coast

Few things make you feel like a kid more than flying a kite. The thrill of getting your kite airborne after a dogged sprint, watching it climb higher and higher into the wild blue, chasing after it over fences and through the neighbors’ backyards after the string snaps. Good times — and a good workout, too. read more

Enjoy the night with a hike

An hour or so into the hike, the lightbulb went on for Alan. “Now this looks familiar.”

The problem up until now? We’d been hiking in the daylight.

Alan Nechemias and I had probably hiked this stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake — sections 10 and 9 — a couple dozen times over the past three years. But we could only recall hiking it once in daylight. The other times had been under conditions much like this: cool to cold late fall and winter nights once the sun had long since set. read more

Weekend plans? Hike to learn, run for fun

Cool weather returns to North Carolina this weekend, making for good hiking at the coast and the mountains, with frightfully fun running in between.

Coast

Mid- to late fall, in my humble opinion the best time to explore the coast. Temperatures have dropped enough that bugs — and snakes! — are less of a problem, yet they haven’t dropped enough to seriously affect the greenery. Lots to see, fewer things to distract you from seeing them. That’s why our pick for the coast this weekend is the Biological Wonderland hike at Carolina Beach State Park. Carolina Beach has a diverse plant community, from its pine savannas to its carnivorous plants. Let an in-the-know park ranger fill you in on this Saturday morning hike that leaves from the nature trail parking lot at 10 a.m. read more