The holidays are upon us — and so, too, are our holiday visitors.
You’re eager to show your visiting friends and family why you love living in the region: the outdoor opportunities that make this such a wonderful place to explore. You also don’t want to alienate your guests — or worse, harm them! — by taking them on an outing beyond their capabilities. Fortunately, you can do the former while avoiding the latter with the 10 hikes below, hikes that offer considerable esthetic bang for minimal physical exertion.read more
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. read more
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.read more
In 2005, author Richard Louv came out with his groundbreaking “Last Child in the Woods,” an account of how our kids have gone from being weaned in the wild to garrisoned in the great room in less than a generation.
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:
Painting the Mountain, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2 p.m., Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson: Using tempera paints and brushes, kids spend an hour painting scenes from atop Mount Jefferson. All supplies are free.
Canoe Excursion, Monday, Sept. 25, 9 a.m., Lake James State Park, Nebo: Paddle the Paddy’s Creek Area with a ranger.
Hike Jude’s Gap Historic Trail, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m., Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock: two-mile hike that’s part of the Carolina Land Conservancy’s hiking badge program.
Fishing Occoneechee, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 10 a.m., Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough: Learn to bait a hook and cast; all equipment provided.
Natural Side of Fort Macon, Thursday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m., Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach: Leisurely hike exploring beach and trail at the fort.
Mammals of Stone Mountain, Friday, Sept. 29, 1 p.m., Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap: Join a ranger to learn about the animals that call Stone Mountain home.
Sunset Hike, Saturday, Sept. 30, 6:45 p.m., Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap: A mile and a half hike topped by sunset atop Stone Mountain.