It started two weeks ago with a serenade by spring peepers in a pond at Horton Grove Nature Preserve. It was reinforced a day later by the sudden appearance of perky yellow daffodils near an old homestead along the Eno River. Then, last Friday, on a hike through bottomland forest at Ayr Mount in Hillsborough, I got the sign I’d been waiting for: a trout lily unfurling its delicate yellow and maroon petals.
Several years ago, when Keith Nealson was a ranger at Umstead State Park, I nearly had him talked into a canoe trip down Crabtree Creek through the park. Alas, he transferred (he’s now the superintendent of Eno River State Park) and the trip never advanced beyond talk.
Reduce your bucket list with a mountain polar plunge, get up to speed on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, or run for chocolate: they’re all options this weekend in North Carolina.
Mountains: 4th Annual Polar Plunge
One of the iconic winter sporting events that might be on a bucket list or two is the polar plunge. If you find the prospect of immersing your already cold body into cold water intriguing, check out this weekend’s 4th Annual Polar Plunge Benefit-t-t-t-ing Kids in the Creek and Youth Education at Lake Junaluska benefitting Kids in the Creek and Environmental Education.
As of 9 a.m. on Friday, the prospects for cross-country skiing were grim in the Triangle: the nearly six inches of snow forecast the night before — the minimum amount creating a sufficient base on some trails — had taken more the form of ice, a surface good for little more than hockey and busting your keister. But hey, it’s still early in this weather event dubbed Jonas.
Tens of thousands of tundra swans make their way south from Canada to the North Carolina coast every year, never once stopping to ask directions. Yet we got lost between the parking lot and the trailhead. Check out those navigationally gifted tundra swans at the coast this weekend, or learn how to successfully find the trailhead in the Piedmont. Or, go to the mountains and climb a high bald you’ve likely never heard.