Culturally speaking, this is the last weekend of spring. True, the season doesn’t officially cede to summer until June 21 (at 5:13 a.m.). But for most of us, Memorial Day weekend kicks off “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer;” starting this weekend the majority of us will already be dipping into the soda, the pretzels, the beer (no hot dogs?).
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.
One of the reasons we like to do a GetBackpacking! trip to the Shining Rock area in April is because we get to revisit spring. Traditionally, we begin at the Shining Rock Creek/Big East Fork Trailhead off US 276, at an elevation of about 3,100 feet. Here, spring is well underway, with mid-spring wildflowers in bloom, the trees essentially leafed out. But as we climb, as we gain more than 2,400 vertical feet on a 4.3-mile climb up to Shining Rock Gap, time begins to reverse itself. Trees just beginning to sprout leaves, wildflowers of the early season sort. By the time we reach the top, the trees are winter-bare, first-responder bluets dominate the wildflower scene. A visit to Shining Rock is like going back in time.
You know spring has sprung when North Carolina State Parks has 17 programs scheduled for for the weekend.
Because there’s such variety on tap, we thought we’d simply list the program name, location and time. If you’re intrigued, click on the link and learn more.
That’s what we’re about here at GetGoingNC.com: our guided hikes are intended to introduce you to new trails you can hike on your own, our classes give you the skills to confidently hike and backpack independently, and our trail guides, books and tutorials are likewise intended to activate and inform the explorer within.