In the early 1980s I lived in Loveland, Colo. On weekends, I would drive up U.S. 34 along the Big Thompson River toward Estes Park, into the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest. I would typically stop well short of Estes, sometimes not even making it to the tiny crossroads of Drake. I’d find a roadside pullout, get out and start hiking: there didn’t need to be a trail, as long as the terrain was passible. It wouldn’t be long, scrambling up the steep canyon walls, before I’d start fantasizing that I might be the first person to have ever made it to the ridge above. Hey, I was in my 20s. What did I know?read more
I knew I’d found a kindred spirit in Jim Plant when, during my interrogation of his intimate knowledge of Hanging Rock State Park, he said, “But then, I prefer to go off-trail.” Jim and fellow Friends of the Sauratown Mountains members Regina Rollins and Sarah Werner were standing on a rock outcrop with GetHiking!’s Alison Watta and me, surveying a vast stretch of undeveloped land in the 7,000-acre state park north of the Triad.read more
Finally, the forecast and the calendar align: we should have springlike weather this weekend.
As we’re attempting to do on an every-Friday basis, we’re here today to get you thinking about the weekend. Today, 40 seconds of last Sunday’s GetHiking! adventure at Umstead State Park in Raleigh: a little on the cool side, but sunny and glorious nonetheless.
This week, GetHiking!, in its various incarnations, will be at Haw River State Park (GetOriented!) and Hanging Rock State Park (Piedmont Explorer and GetHiking! Triad) on Saturday, on the the Mountains-to-Sea Trail through Hillsborough (GetHiking! Corporate) on Sunday. Click the appropriate link if you’re interested in joining us.
Three other ways to celebrate spring this weekend, all at your North Carolina State Parks:
Canoe Excursion, Lake James State Park, Nemo (mountains). Saturday, 10 a.m. No experience necessary. More info and register here.
Flatty Creek Spring Hike, Goose Creek State Park, Washington (coast). Saturday, 10 a.m. The approach of warm weather means won’t be able to hike through a swamp like this much longer. More info and register here.
Stone Mountain Falls Hike, Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap (piedmont/mountains). Saturday, 11 a.m. Half mile hike to the 200-foot cascade known hereabouts as Stone Mountain Falls. More info and register here.
Our spate of great fall weekend weather continues. Amid a full lineup of ways to enjoy it, here’s what we are especially drawn to.
Make of this what you will: I go for a 5-mile run, my step-counter-dealiebob gives me credit for maybe 8,000 steps. I spend the day working in the yard, I hit my daily goal of 15,000 steps by noon. Which is to say, good aerobic exercise can come from unexpected places.
Like attending this weekend’s 11th Annual Cape Fear Kite Festival at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. Say you bring a kite: you’re spending the day running up and down the beach, trying to get the thing up, fetching it when your initial objective falls short. Say you don’t bring a kite: you’re running up and down the beach checking out all the really cool (and sometimes really big!) kites. Odds are you’ll hit your goal by noon as well. And extra credit for running in the sand.
Starts Saturday morning at 10, ends Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.
Logistics: 11th Annual Cape Fear Kite Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure Beach. Free. More info here.
Looking ahead: Bear Island Eco Hike, Hammocks Beach State Park, Sunday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m. More info here.
Hanging Rock, Moore’s Knob, Wolf Rock, Cook’s Wall and … dang! You can never remember the name of the last of the five peaks that make up the coveted Five Peak Challenge at Hanging Rock State Park.
Saturday is your chance to forever etch that elusive fifth peak, House Rock, into memory, when an environmental educator at Hanging Rock State Park leads a 3-mile hike (roundtrip) to House Rock and back. This hike promises a moderate pace, taking two hours to take in the views and scenic wonders along the way, while also exploring all of House Rock’s “rooms.”
Intrigued? Read on …
Logistics: Adventure Hike, Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m., Hanging Rock State Park (meet at the bathhouse). For more info, go here.
Looking ahead: Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 24) hikes at Raven Rock State Park (9 a.m.) and Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve (10 a.m.). More info here.
Here’s a beguiling pitch: “No Pavement. No Traffic. Just Awesome.”
Go on …
That’s how race organizers describe the South of the Mountain Trail Run. This 5K is on the 260-acre South Mountain Christian Camp, course that, “takes runners on one continuous loop through a mix of gravel roads, grassy shorelines, and wide dirt trails on the south side of Cherry Mountain. Encompassing rolling hills, wooded paths, and scenic views along the lake, the South of the Mountain Trail Run offers a wide variety of challenges for runners and walkers of all skill levels in one of the most beautiful settings around.” Well, then … .
Logistics: South of the Mountain Trail Run, Saturday, 10 a.m., South Mountain Christian Camp, Bostic. $25. More info here.
Looking ahead: Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 24) hikes at Grandfather Mountain State Park. 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).
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.