All right, folks, time for another round of weekend weather roulette when we spin the weather wheel and see which day will be more conducive to spending time outdoors. And the winner is … Sunday!
Saturday doesn’t look half bad, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s. However, the wind is expected to kick up in the afternoon, with a steady blow of 15-20 mph winds out of the southwest, with gusts up to 35! That’s especially problematic if you worry about dead wood showering down upon you from the canopy.read more
We live less than a half mile from Occoneechee State Natural Area in Hillsborough, and I either hike or run there a couple times a week. Though I generally like to mix things up on trail I do regularly — hiking clockwise one time, counterclockwise the next — I have the same routine at Occoneechee: I enter from the neighborhood entrance off Eno Mountain Road, then take the Occoneechee Mountain Loop Trail, Overlook Trail and Chestnut Trail back to the Loop Trail, which brings me around the west side of the mountain to the Eno River for the hike’s highlight: a 75-yard stretch beneath a north-facing cliff that is perpetually green. Green with holly and ferns, which are common in these parts, but also with mountain laurel, with rhododendron, and even a narrow carpet of galax. For this brief stretch the trail leaves the Piedmont for the Southern Appalachians.read more
Due to technical difficulties (dern iEquipment) we don’t have an inspiring video to encourage you to get out this weekend, but we do have some encouraging events, courtesy your local N.C. State Park.
=&0=&Saturday night, Haw River State Park (8 p.m.) and Pettigrew State Park (8:30 p.m.). If it’s August it must be the Perseid meteor showers. Grab your camp chair or a blanket, sit (or lay) back and watch the best light show around. Remote Pettigrew, located in the remote coastal plain, an area with minimal light pollution, seems an especially good bet for a night of brilliant sparklers. More info here.
=&1=&. The dog days of August: the perfect time to be on the water. Here are three opportunities:
Canoe the Mayo, Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Mayo River State Park, Mayodan (Triad). A rate opportunity to test drive a canoe on an intimate river. Canoe, paddles, personal flotation device provided; you need to provide a shuttle to get back to your car. More info here.
Kayak Tour, Sunday, 8:30-11 a.m., Hammocks Beach State Park, Swansboro (coast). Follow a ranger and explore the marshland and ecosystems around this coastal state park. Kayaks, paddles, pfds provided. Free, but preregistration required, by calling 910.326.4881.
Tubing at the Park, Sunday, 1 p.m., New River State Park, Connelly Springs (mountains). With paddling, you’re above the cool water, with tubing part of you is in it. More info here.
After a teasing blast of fall early in the week, we’re back to the realities of July in the Southeast this weekend. Not a bad thing, just something to take into account as you plan your weekend. We share our thoughts on what might make for a grand weekend of adventure below.
Hike in a canoe, hike in a creek, hike in the dark.
What’s the best hike when temperatures are in the 90s and the humidity isn’t far behind?
A Canoe Hike.
Like the one they’re having Sunday at Carvers Creek State Park.
And when’s the best time to have a Canoe Hike?
When the sun is easing and the temperature with it, around 6 p.m., which is when Sunday’s Canoe Hike is scheduled.
Vital stats: Sunday, Aug. 21, 6 p.m., Carvers Creek State Park, Spring Lake. Free, but limited to the first 10 to sign up, by calling 910.436.4681. More info here.
Looking ahead: Go Jump in the Lake Running Race, Sept. 3, 8 a.m., Spring Lake. $15 – $35. More info here.
On a steamy weekend, few things sound better than frolicking in a creek.
Saturday, roll up your chinos and join a ranger from Mayo River State Park for a journey up Falls Creek to Falls Creek Falls in search of “what is swimming around in the creeks at Mayo River State Park.” Two hours of time travel back to your inner 8-year-old. Starts at 1 p.m.
Vital stats: Creek Creep, Saturday, Aug. 20, 1-3 p.m., Mayo River State Park, Mayodan. More info here.
Looking ahead: Stokes Stomp Festival on the Dan, Sept. 10, 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Hanging Rock State Park. More info here.
Most folks fear being on the trail as day turns to night. At Grandfather Mountain, they embrace it.
At least they are on Sunday, when a park ranger leads a sunset hike on the park’s Profile Trail beginning at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ll hope to see and hear nocturnal wildlife and enjoy the woods in that special time of the day,” according to the hike description. “We’ll walk one mile, round trip. Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather.”
Vital stats: Sunday, Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m., Grandfather Mountain State Park, Profile Trailhead off NC 105. More info here.
Looking ahead: Ascent of the Century, Aug. 26-28, Black Mountain Campground / Mount Mitchell 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.