There’s a pretty good looking weekend ahead, with a little rain possible Saturday, warmer temperatures on Sunday. Both days look good for getting out.
Here are our 5 recommendations for the weekend.
Tanawha/Nuwati Wildflower Hike with a Park Ranger, Saturday, 2 p.m., Grandfather Mountain State Park, Banner Elk. This hike allots plenty of time (3 hours) to cover about 3 miles in search of spring wildflowers. You’ll want that time, too, to learn about the diverse terrain this hike covers along the southeastern flank of Grandfather Mountain. The hike begins at the Boone Fork Parking Area off the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 299.9) and is limited to 15 hikers. Learn more here (including how to register).read more
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.)read more
One of the reasons we like to do a GetBackpacking! trip to the Shining Rock area in April is because we get to revisit spring. Traditionally, we begin at the Shining Rock Creek/Big East Fork Trailhead off US 276, at an elevation of about 3,100 feet. Here, spring is well underway, with mid-spring wildflowers in bloom, the trees essentially leafed out. But as we climb, as we gain more than 2,400 vertical feet on a 4.3-mile climb up to Shining Rock Gap, time begins to reverse itself. Trees just beginning to sprout leaves, wildflowers of the early season sort. By the time we reach the top, the trees are winter-bare, first-responder bluets dominate the wildflower scene. A visit to Shining Rock is like going back in time.read more
The Spring wildflower bloom has been going on for about a month and a half now. It kicked off with the maroon and yellow fingerling petals of the trout lily, the delicate white (and sometimes pink or purple) blossom of the spring beauty. Those have pretty much passed, and now we’re on to the bluets, ladyslippers, Dutchman’s breeches and more. The point? The show won’t last much longer, which is why today we’re recommending wildflower hikes for the coming weekend.read more