Tag Archives: Hanging Rock

Winter Wild: Solitude when you need it most

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

A Winter Wild time Hiking off-trail at Hanging Rock

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

Get Out! (Your Nudge for the Weekend)

 

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.
  • read more

    Your weekend: More great fall days to hike, run or fly a kite

    Photo courtesy VisitNC.com
    Photo courtesy VisitNC.com

    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.

    Coast

    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.

    Weekend forecast: Sunny both days with highs around 70.

    * * *

    Looking ahead: Bear Island Eco Hike, Hammocks Beach State Park, Sunday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m. More info here.

    Piedmont

    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.

    Saturday forecast: 52 degrees at hike time under sunny skies.

    * * *

    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.

    Mountains

    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.

    Sunday forecast: Sunny and high of 54 around race time.

    * * *

    Looking ahead: Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 24) hikes at Grandfather Mountain State Park. More info here.

    * * *

    Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

    Coast

    CapeFearCoast.com
    Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

    Coastal Guide
    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.

    NCCoast.com
    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).

    Mountains

    Asheville Citizen-Times
    From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

    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.

    The Mountain Times
    From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

    Todd’s Calendar read more

    Your weekend: Present, Past, Fast

    Fast times at Mount Jefferson
    Fast times at Mount Jefferson

    Detach your kids from their electronics and get them to live in the present (at least for 45 minutes) at Merchants Millpond; expose them to true culture shock with a look at how kids used to play in Saura times; or, head to the mountains and catch skateboarders on the fast track.

    Coast: Coleman Trail Hike

    The weather is expected to be great this weekend; why not take advantage and head to the coast! Merchants Millpond State Park is hosting a Kids In Parks Track Trail hike. Come participate in some simple animal exercises, and investigate the plethora of nature to be found along this 2-mile trail. Meet at the Boat Ramp area at the Coleman Trailhead on Sunday.

    Sunday forecast: High of 75, low of 49, sunny.

    Vital Stats: Kids In Parks Track Trail hike, Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville, Sunday, 1 p.m., meet at the Boat Ramp area of Coleman Trail head. Contact: 252.357.1191 or merchants.millpond@ncparks.gov. For more information, go here.

    Looking ahead: Six-mile Nature Hike at Pettigrew State Park, Columbia, Sunday, May 15, 1 p.m. More info here.

    Piedmont: Outdoor play in olden times

    Ever wonder how people played before hover boards and drones? Or marbles and jacks?

    Saturday and Sunday, come see how the Saura Indians played hundreds of years ago at the Saura Indian Games at Hanging Rock State Park. A park ranger will demonstrate how the Sauras kicked back after a long day of hunting and gathering.

    Weekend forecast: Daytime highs in the upper 70s under mostly sunny skies both days.

    Vital Stats: Saura Indian Games, Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, Saturday and Sunday, 2-3 p.m. both days. More info here.

    Looking ahead: C.A.S.T. Catch A Sure Thing at Lake Jordan, geared towards youth who have minimal experience with fishing. April 30, 9:30am-11am. More info here.

    Mountains: North Carolina Downhill Skateboard Race

    Downhill skateboard? Racing?

    Yep. Mount Jefferson State Natural Area hosts its second annual NC Downhill Race on Saturday and Sunday. Nearly 100 participants are expected to race, catapulting down the steep park road — Mount Jefferson rises 1,600 feet above the surrounding countryside — on skateboards and longboards reaching speeds in excess of 50 mph. Take a look at this year’s promotional video. Food and vendors, too. Meet at the old Lowes Food at the base of the mountain to catch a shuttle up to the spectator area.

    Weekend forecast: Saturday: high of 66, low of 43; Sunday: high of 74, low of 51.

    Vital Stats: NC Downhill Race, Saturday and Sunday,, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. Call 336.246.9653 for more info. To register to participate, if that’s your thing, and to find more information, go here.

    Looking ahead: Wildflower walks at Grandfather Mountain State Park. Saturday May 7, 1:00pm. More info here.

    * * *

    Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

    Coast

    CapeFearCoast.com
    Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

    Coastal Guide
    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.

    NCCoast.com read more