Fall is a great time to be outdoors in North Carolina; this weekend there are several ways to enjoy the season: hike a swamp at the coast, run a marathon in a Piedmont forest, paddle a mountain river — at night.
Lots of people go to Merchants Millpond State Park, almost all to paddle the cypress- and tupelo-peppered millpond. But the park, nestled in the swampy northeast corner of the state, also has hiking trail (it even has backcountry camping). Saturday, you can tag along with a ranger on a nature hike through the park, a good opportunity to learn about the swamplike environment. Bug spray recommended.