The good news for the weekend: the heat — excessive heat — will move out. It will, however, be replaced with a little rain. So keep a close eye on the forecast, the radar and the sky before heading out. And when you do head out, here are 5 of our favorite options for the weekend.
The first hot weekend of the year is upon us, with temperatures climbing into the mid 90s. As far as weekend adventure goes, that can only mean one thing: water play. That influences our 5 Adventures for this Weekend.
- Canoe Hike, Saturday, 10 a.m., Jones Lake State Park, Eizabethtown. Jones Lake, that 224-acre Carolina bay southeast of Fayetteville, begs for attention on a hot day. Take the guided paddle trip, then spend the rest of the day on the beach, enjoying the clean, tannic waters of the lake. A perfect summer adventure. Learn more and register — the paddle is free, but space is limited — here.
- Canoe Hike, Saturday, 5 p.m., Carvers Creek State Park, Spring Lake. Says the event description: “We will be learning the basics of canoeing and then trying out our new skills by maneuvering through the Cypress swamp. This is a slow and calm canoeing experience and great for beginners or if you want to get a closer look at the Cypress trees.” Again, free, but space is limited and you must register in advance. Learn more here.
- Stone Mountain Stream Safari, Saturday, 4 p.m., Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap. Even better than being on the water? Being in it, which you’ll be on this 1/2-mile hike in a park stream learning about bugs that live in water and water quality. Learn more here.
- Jordan Lake Bald Eagle Paddle, Saturday, 8:30 a.m., Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, Apex. Seeing bald eagles is cool, even more so when you realize, according to outfitter Frog Hollow Outdoors, the “re-introduction of Bald Eagles has been one of our states shining legacies as a true environmental comeback. Due to DDT use in the 70s Bald Eagles had completely disappeared from NC by the early 80s. However, the year following the release of juveniles in Eastern NC, a nesting pair found their home near Jordan Lake. Since that time in 1984, the population of Bald Eagle in NC has soared. Jordan Lake is now considered one of the largest summertime nesting areas for Bald Eagle in the southeastern US. Join us as we paddle the northern reaches of Jordan Lake in search of its majestic residents.” Passage is in sea touring kayaks, eagle sighting is not guaranteed. $55. Learn more and sign up here.
- Stargazing paddle, Saturday, 8 p.m., Saxapahaw Lake, Saxapahaw. Says outfitter Haw River Canoe & Kayak, “There is no better way to see the night sky in Central North Carolina than on a dark night with a new moon, while floating on Saxapahaw Lake. Guests will paddle out to the middle of the lake, and adjust their eyes to the night sky. As the stars become brighter, guests will ‘raft-up,’ lay back, and identify stars and constellations. Single kayaks, tandem kayaks, and canoes are available for use. Suitable for all skill levels.” $40-$80, depending upon the boat. Learn more here.
This weekend, tolerate the heat by embracing water.
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:
We’re finally in full leaf-out and had our first taste of summertime temperatures. Some thoughts on how you can get out and enjoy.
16th Annual Paddle for the Border, Saturday, 8 a.m., Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills. Picture one of those races where they release hundreds of tiny rubber ducks into a stream. Now, instead of tiny ducks, picture hundreds of paddlers. Crazy, no? That’s the craziness you’ll find this weekend as hundreds of paddlers make their way from the park up the Dismal Swamp Canal to the Virginia border. About a 7.5-mile paddle. Check it out here.
Show dad how much he means to you by taking him into the great outdoors.
So many mysteries contained in Merchants Millpond, the nearly 200-year-old, 760-acre water assemblage that spreads throughout the State Park bearing its name. Is it a pond or a swamp (sure seems like the latter)? What are those weird, prehistoric fish you occasionally see near the surface? Are there alligators?
These questions and more answered Saturday afternoon on a 2-hour guided canoe trip on the pond. Canoe, paddle, pfd and guide provided free; you bring the sunscreen and questions.
Logistics: Canoe the Pond, Saturday, June 17, 1 p.m., Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville. More info and sign up — it’s free, but there are a limited number of canoes — by going here.
Saturday forecast: High of 85, chance of afternoon thunderstorms.
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Looking ahead: Black Bears of Pettigrew State Park, Saturday, July 1, Pettigrew State Park, Columbia. More info here.
Wondering what to get Dad for his big day, Father’s Day, which is Sunday? You know what he’d love, don’t you?
A big ‘ol hike!
For instance, the Father’s Day Jomeokee Hike at Pilot Mountain State Park. It’s the perfect hike for darn near any dad: it’s a mellow distance — just under a mile — and he’ll learn all sorts of facts that he can pepper his conversations with for years to come. Facts like where the trail got its name, how the Pilot Mountain pinnacle got its distinctive shape, why birds of prey are always circling overhead.
Logistics: Father’s Day Jomeokee Hike at Pilot Mountain State Park, Sunday, June 18, 10 a.m., Pilot Mountain State Park. More info here.
Sunday forecast: High of 85, chance of a thunderstorm.
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Looking ahead: Basic Orienteering, Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, Saturday, July 16, Southern Pines. More info here.
You do the Sunday morning Father’s Day hike at Pilot Mountain and Dad emerges really jazzed about the outdoors. His sense of adventure kindled, suggest that you drive the hour and a half to New River State Park for the 2 p.m. paddle trip on the New River. You needn’t have paddling experience; you’ll get basic canoe instruction at the start. Then, enjoy a couple hours on this mellow mountain river.
Logistics: Guided Canoe Trip, Sunday, June 18, 2 p.m., New River State Park/US 221 Access. Free, but boats are limited; call 336.982.2587 to reserve a spot.
Sunday forecast: High of 77, chance of a thunderstorm.
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Looking ahead: Night Hike, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, Friday, July 7, West Jefferson. 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).
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