We’re big fans of hiking at night. We love the intimacy of the dark woods, the increased sense of camaraderie with our fellow hikers, the mystery of what lies beyond the glow of our headlamp. That’s why we created our Tuesday Night Hikes series (our next hike is Tuesday, btw; details here), and also why we keep an eye out for night hikes to recommend.
It’s a common challenge over the holidays: you have family and friends visiting from afar — now, what are you going to do with them?
Take them on an adventure! Or, rather, let us help you take them on an adventure!
We’ve got several outdoor adventures this holiday season that are ideal for getting everyone out of the house and showing off the region’s great outdoor attributes!
OK, so perhaps summer is overstaying its welcome. It’s still dry out, which means you have at least one more weekend to get out and savor the warm weather. Remember, in another couple months, you’ll be pining for its return.
National Public Lands Day, Saturday, nationwide. Saturday is National Public Lands Day, “the largest single-day volunteer effort for America’s public lands.” Related events are planned at five North Carolina State Parks (Crowders Mountain, Pilot Mountain, Lake Norman, Grandfather Mountain, Morrow Mountain); you can find specifics here. You can find additional events in the state by going to the National Environmental Education Foundation web site and clicking here.
Within a year, Liz Baird, director of school programs for the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, had launched Take A Child Outside Week, an effort to ensure that for at least one week a year, kids had ample opportunity to play outdoors. By 2010, her effort had been embraced by more than 400 partners — various agencies with a stake in kids, the outdoors or both — in all 50 states and four foreign countries.
At the time, Baird said: “I recently compared it to a ball rolling down hill. We just gave it a push and it continues to spin faster and faster. I now have people seeking me out to become a partner.”
Today, Take A Child Outside Week, which begins on Sunday, Sept. 24, and runs through Sept. 30, continues to flourish. Hundreds of opportunities to get your kids outdoors are planned in North Carolina alone. For instance, in North Carolina’s State Parks alone, you’ll find:
Another hot, summery weekend is on tap, which means you have two choices for outdoor fun: get wet or go high.
Not that you need a reason to visit the Great Dismal Swamp, but if you did …
Saturday, join a ranger on an intimate Summer Paddle of the Dismal Swamp Canal at Dismal Swamp State Park north of Elizabeth City. Everything you need — boat, paddle, PFD, basic instruction — is provided. That last part — basic instruction — should be even more incentive for those of you who’ve never paddled.
About the “intimate” part: though the trip is free, it’s limited to eight boats. Pre-register — before it’s too late.
Logistics: Summer Paddle, Saturday, July 8, 10 a.m., Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills. Free, but pre-registration is required because there are only eight boats, by calling 252.771.6593.
Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny and a temperature of 84 at 10 a.m.
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Looking ahead: Too short of notice? This summer paddle will be repeated next Saturday, July 15. More info here.
Too hot for a hike? How about a boat race — using tiny boats you craft out of recycled materials?
First, at Saturday morning’s Build-a-Boat at Eno River State Park, you’ll craft a boat out of recycled materials — bring your own or they’ll have some on hand. Then, you’ll race against other boat builders in the cool waters of the Eno, at Fews Ford.
Logistics: Build-a-Boat, Saturday, July 8, 9 a.m., Eno River State Park (meet at the Piper Cox House at the park’s Fews Ford Access. More info here.
Saturday forecast: Sunny, with a 9 a.m. temperature of 79.
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Looking ahead: Can’t make Saturday morning’s Build-a-Boat? The event repeats Saturday, July 29 at noon. More info here.
D’ja ever wonder about the weather on top of a mountain? About the highest wind gusts ever recorded? Lowest temperature? Most snow?
Likewise, who hasn’t wondered how they record that information? Saturday is your chance to have these questions answered at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area. Setting out from the picnic area, you’ll make the short clime to MJ’s 4,683-foot summit, home to a North Carolina Climate Office data collection tower, where the mountain will reveal her climatological secrets during the Mount Jefferson’s Climate Tower program.
Logistics: Mount Jefferson’s Climate Tower, Saturday, July 8, 2 p.m., Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. More info here.
Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny with a high of 76.
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Looking ahead: Can’t make Saturday’s hike, but intrigued all the same by Mount Jefferson? Then consider the Rock Outcrop Hike at the park on Saturday, July 29. More info here.
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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of coastal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.
Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.
North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).
This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.
Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.
The Mountain Times