It has been warm of late. Hot, even. And humid. Boy, has it been humid. But there’s nothing like working up a good sweat, is there? Even if you’re just dashing to your car to go to the store.
Well savor it while you can, people, because it won’t be summer forever! The fall equinox is just 40 days off, and Labor Day, the emotional start of fall, is just 24 days away. So take advantage of the heat while you can. This weekend, for instance:read more
Yeah, there’s a little rain in the forecast for the weekend. However:
It’s a forecast, which is essentially an educated guess, which is subject to not being accurate;
There do appear to be some less wet spots in the forecast; and,
Why should that keep us from having a little fun at least planning for the weekend?
That said, here three ideas for getting out and exploring:
B.W. Wells Heritage Day, Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Falls Lake State Recreation Area, Wake Forest. There’s a cool area of Falls Lake State Recreation Area on the east side of the lake that few people know about: the B.W. Wells area. It’s where B.W. Wells, a botany professor at N.C. State and one of the state’s foremost early ecologists lived and peppered his land with a variety of plant life. The area is usually closed, but is open for touring on Heritage Day. Learn more about B.W. Wells here, learn more about B.W. Wells Heritage Day here.read more
What to do on the last weekend of July? We have a thought or two …
Geology of Stone Mountain, Saturday, 9 a.m., Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap. No doubt you’ve looked at that strange forehead protruding from the ground, the one from which Stone Mountain gets its name, and wondered, How did that happen? Here, at this one hour program at the Hutchinson Homestead, is your chance to find out. And if you’re left at the end yearning for more, eager to know all about Stone Mountain, then stick around until 2 p.m. for “All About Stone Mountain.” (You can do some hiking in between to pass the time.) For more info on both programs and to register, go here.
=&1=&, Saturday, 8 p.m., Haw River State Park Iron Ore Belt Access, Greensboro. We love a night hike, and we especially love one where we’re not compelled to watch our every footstep to avoid rocks and roots in the trail. On the smooth-as-sandstone 3.8-mile Great Blue Heron Trail you’ll be able to focus on the wonder of the night. Bring a flashlight/headlamp with red or blue filter, bring bug spray and water. For more info and to register, go here.
=&2=&, Sunday, 11 a.m., Mount Mitchell State Park. Visiting Mount Mitchell, which tops out at 6,684 feet, is like visiting another world — so many unusual things to see at that elevation. Sunday, let a ranger explain what it is your seeing and why it’s there on this guided hike on the Balsam Trail. More info and register here.
You can find more opportunities this weekend here:
North Carolina State Parks have a variety of adventures planned for the weekend. Check those options here.
North Carolina Environmental Education Centers has an extensive calendar of what’s happening at its affiliates; check it out here.
You can also find more adventures right here, at GetGoingNC.com.
And learn more about where we spent this past week, featured in the video, by visiting the web sites for
One thing about the recent weird winter weather: the breaks are, mercifully, falling on the weekends. Our upcoming one, for instance, is supposed to be dry with temperatures that’ll defrost your winter-weary soul. At least in the Piedmont and at the coast. The mountains, on the other hand, promise more winter fun.
Even Carolina Beach, where you can find the occasional palm tree (albeit an immigrant) was icing over midweek this week. Saturday, though, the high is expected to flirt with 50, and the sun is even scheduled to make an appearance in the afternoon. Sounds appealing, no?
Appealing enough, in our opinion, to check out Saturday’s Biological Wonders program. “Join a park ranger on this hike to see and learn about all the different plant communities here in Carolina Beach State Park,” promises the program description. Some of those plant communities — the brackish marshes, the cypress pond — will make the temperature seem a good five degrees warmer.
Logistics: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2 p.m. Carolina Beach State Park. For more info: 910-458-8206
Modesty aside, the best hike on the books for this weekend is our GetHiking! hike Sunday in the Birkhead Mountain Wilderness of the Uwharrie National Forest. The Birkheads present a nice challenge (bigger climbs than you’ll find elsewhere in the Piedmont) and long stretches of solitude. And, they’re centrally located in what the local boosters like to call North Carolina’s Central Park. All three of our GetHiking! groups — GetHiking! Charlotte, GetHiking! Triad and GetHiking! Triangle — will be participating in this hike.
For the more aggressive hiker we have an 11.5-mile option, for the stop-and-smell-the-flowers crowd we have a 7.4-mile option. Both start at noon, albeit from different locations.
Logistics: Sunday, Feb. 16, noon, Birkhead Mountain Wilderness area of the Uwharrie National Forest. For more info, check out the GetHiking! chapter nearest you: Charlotte, Triad, Triangle.
Sunday’s Carolina Mountain Club hike at Montreat has the potential to memorable on several fronts. On its merits alone, this is a fine way to spend most of a Sunday. This 7.5-mile circuit takes in Lookout Mountain and the Old Mount Mitchell Toll Road up to Pot Cove Gap. From there, it heads back down the mountain on the Graybeard Trail.
The kicker comes if the forecast holds true. Up to a foot of snow is forecast for the area through Friday evening, and light snow is forecast for the hike. Got snowshoes? Bring ‘em.
Logistics: Sunday, Feb. 16, 9 a.m. (carpool meeting time, from Asheville). Montreat. For more info, go here.
Sunday forecast: Light snow early, then clearing with a high of 48 at lower elevations.
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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 costal 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.