It’s looking like a pretty nice weekend to be out in the woods, with daytime highs into the low 60s both Saturday and Sunday. There’s a chance of rain Sunday; otherwise, a good-looking December weekend is on tap.
First, a couple of off-trail adventures, both intended to keep you off pandemic-popular trails.read more
Sunny with highs in the 70s on Saturday, not quite as promising on Sunday, but we’ll see. Sounds like a decent weekend forecast for enjoying the outdoors in any number of ways.
Here are a few:
Spring Hike, Saturday, 1 p.m. Pettigrew State Park, Creswell. Pettigrew State Park, Pettigrew State Park … . We can hear the gears of confusion now. If you haven’t heard of Pettigrew, it’s likely because of its off-the-beaten-path location: it’s south of Creswell, which is west of Columbia, but east of Plymouth, which is just beyond Williamston, which — well, you get the idea. In short, it’s a bulb of land that’s between Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, and it’s got some of the oldest and biggest trees in the state, which you’ll be able to see on this flat-and-easy 5.6-mile hike. Learn more here.read more
This weekend appears to be a carbon copy (here’s a history lesson, kids) of last weekend: lots of rain during the week, lots of sun on Saturday — and this weekend, Sunday, too. That being the case, some thoughts on how to spend a sunny first weekend of 2019:
ERA Sunday Hike Series: West Point on the Eno city park, Sunday, 2 p.m., Durham. The Eno River Association kicks off its popular Sunday afternoon Winter Hike series with a 4.5-mile hike up the Eno from West Point on the Eno to Guess Road and back. One of the flatter hikes around, with open views of the Eno and a visit to the rock-bound pool called Sennett Hole. More info and sign up here.
Good Night Monadnuck, Sunday, 4:30 p.m., Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough. One of our favorite hikes is to ascent mighty Occoneechee, the highest point in the Triangle at 867 feet, and catch the sun setting over Efland at dusk. More info here.
GetHiking! Winter Wild: Off Trail at Umstead, Saturday, 10 a.m., Umstead State Park, Raleigh. We launched our Winter Wild program last week in the Eno Wilderness (check out the video) and are extremely excited about it. We take you to the places you thought you knew, and show you things you haven’t seen before on a hike that’s mostly off trail. Saturday’s hike will be about 8 miles. Learn more and sign up here.
GetHiking! Winter Program for Beginning Hikers, Sunday, noon, Eno River State Park, Durham. Another new program that we’re excited about. If you’ve vowed to give hiking a go in 2019, this is the place to start. Sunday’s hike will be a mellow mile-and-a-half introduction; over the course of the next 8 weeks we’l build up to 4 miles, on trails around the Triangle. Learn more and sign up here.
As always, you can find more opportunities this weekend here:
=&4=& have a variety of adventures planned for the weekend. Check those options here.
=&5=& has an extensive calendar of what’s happening at its affiliates; check it out here.
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Last weekend, we explored the longest uninterrupted stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake in Raleigh: the 7 miles from NC 98 to Creedmoor Road. We were struck by how, seemingly overnight, the woods had gone from a hint of green to full-blown leaf-out. We caught glimpses of the lake; mostly, though, we were enveloped in green.
That was Saturday. Sunday, we hiked a little farther west on the MST, along the Eno River from the Pump Station Access to Pleasant Green, about 5.5 miles. While the Eno coursing through its rocky valley wasn’t quite as shy as Falls Lake a day earlier, it was likewise subdued, swallowed in green.
Prevalent in that green, fyi, was poison ivy: you can ID the culprit in the photo to the right. Steer clear: this ivy is irritating and itchy. On to this weekend.
Every Friday, we give you a glimpse into our weekend past to give you a nudge to get out and explore the weekend future (this one). Our suggestions:
Saturday, May 5, 8 a.m. Confluence Natural Area Grand Opening, Cedar Grove in Orange County. For a half century, the Eno River Association has been saving land along its namesake river (and tributaries). Most of that land has become Eno River State Park. Saturday, the association opens the 200-acre Confluence Natural Area where the east and west forks of the Eno converge. Festivities begin with a Pre-Celebration Bird Hike at 8 a.m., followed by guided hikes at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Live music and food as well. Learn more and sign up here.
Saturday, May 5, 9 a.m. Vade Mecum Trails at Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury (north of the Triad). The first weekend of every month, Hanging Rock and the Friends of Sauartown Mountains open the trail network at the park’s Vade Mecum addition. The 716-acre former Camp Sertoma 4-H Educational Center, with miles of trail, was added to the park in 2014. Learn more and sign up here.
Sunday, May 6, 9 a.m. Lake Norman State Park, Troutman (north of Charlotte). I Can Canoe, and So Can You. Paddling a canoe is one of those things that isn’t complicated, but can be a little intimidating the first time: the boat’s tippy, you aren’t sure which way to face, how does the paddle work? So many questions. And so many answers in this 1-hour ranger-led clinic. No experience necessary, all equipment provided. Learn more and sign up here.
But wait, there’s more
Several hikes are on tap this weekend with Hike NC, the BlueCross Blue Shield of North Carolina hiking program. Check out those mostly beginner-oriented hikes at gohikenc.com.
Our GetHiking!program also has several hikes planned, including a return to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake on Saturday and a hike at Doughton Park Sunday. Learn more about those adventures and sign up here.
Intrigued by our adventures last weekend on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail? Plan your MST adventure starting here.
You can also find more adventures right here, at GetGoingNC.com.
Take advantage of yet another cool spring weekend with a fitness challenge at the coast, a Mother’s Day hike in the Piedmont, and what may be the most ideal first hike ever offered.
You think of firefighters, you think of folks in pretty darn good shape. So who better to stage a fitness challenge?
Saturday, the Wilmington Professional Firefighter’s Association holds its Second Annual Charity Firefighter’s Fitness Challenge. Wondering what types of challenges the Challenge entails? “A multi-stage combination of high intensity cross-training exercises inspired by the physical demands of being a firefighter.” (If it helps, the event poster shows folks hoisting a barbell and flipping big tires.) Competition is by team, in the male, female and coed categories.
If you’re really into a challenge, there’s a 4.5-mile run before The Challenge: you can do either or both.
Logistics: Second Annual Wilmington Professional Firefighter’s Fitness Challenge & Run, Saturday, May 13, Greenfield Lake Amphitheater Park, Wilmington. $150 per team. More info here.
Looking ahead: Fort Fisher Kayak Trip, July 7, Halyburton Park, Wilmington. More info here.
The spring season of Sunday afternoon hikes by the Eno River Association is winding down — all the more reason to catch the ERA’s Mother’s Day Hike this Sunday at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area in Hillsborough. At 867 feet, Occoneechee is the highest point in the Triangle. It includes five separate ecozones; curiously, the most mountain-like — rhododendron, mountain laurel (now in bloom), galax — is at the bottom of the mountain. The hike will be on the Occoneechee Mountain Loop and Chestnut Oak Trails.
Logistics: Eno River Association Mother’s Day Hike, Sunday, May 14, 2 p.m., Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough. More info here.
Sunday forecast: Sunny with a high of 78.
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Looking ahead: The last hike in the Eno River Association’s Spring Series is June 3, National Trails Day, on the Bobbitt Hole Trail at Eno River State Park. More info here.
A dilemma: you love the idea of hiking, but only in the mountains — waterfalls, vistas, other carrots, you know — where the trails tend to be more challenging. You don’t want your first hike to be too long or too hard. You just want it to be gorgeous and memorable. Boy, do you ever ask a lot!
Fortunately, our Hike NC! affiliate is here to help. Saturday, join Christy Thrift and her team from Thrifty Adventures on a 2-mile hike at the Orchard at Altapass just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Spruce Pine. The hike is on a gently graded trail that weaves through an apple orchard. At the midpoint, the hike will pause to do some breath work (exertion and altitude, you know). The hike finishes back at the start with yoga lead by a certified yoga instructor (which will help resolve any stiffness and soreness).
It is the perfect way for a beginner to ease into hiking.
Logistics: Hike & Yoga at The Orchard at Altapass, Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m., Spruce Pine. More info and sign up, here.
Looking ahead: Pisgah National Forest: Lower Douglas Falls Trail Hike, Asheville area, June 3. More info here.
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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.
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).