Saturday is National Trails Day: Get out and celebrate your favorite North Carolina trail!
Every Thursday, we team with our friends at GetGoingNC.com to offer suggestions on how you can have an active weekend. We offer ideas for the coast, the Piedmont and the mountains that cover a range of activities, from running and hiking to paddling, biking and more. For more information on the events listed, as well as for additional options for the weekend, visit GetGoingNC.com.
Saturday, it’s National Trails Day, a nationwide observance with dozens of events planned across North Carolina. Learn about one of our more complex ecosystems on a guided hike at the coast, experience hiking Eurostyle with a volksmarch in the Triangle, or celebrate the rebirth of a trail network atop mile-high Beech Mountain.
The 153,000-acre Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge may be best known for its more awe-inspiring fauna — its black bears, red wolves, coyotes and alligators. Yet it’s flora is equally impressive, ranging from Atlantic white cedar, cypress-gum and bay forests, to brackish and freshwater marshes and high shrub pocosins.
Now, everyone knows what a black bear looks like. But can you tell a red bay from a sweetbay magnolia from a pond pine? You will after Saturday’s two-hour hike into the gut of the refuge led by a local plant expert.
Here in the states, we take long hikes to escape the rigors of daily life. They hike for similar reasons in Germany and throughout much of the rest of Europe, but they also hike with a purpose. Volksmarching, they call it, and it involves hiking with goals: visiting checkpoints, learning about things along your route, getting pins and patches.
Saturday, you’ll get a chance to experience the volksmarch approach at Triangle Volksmarch, a 5.6-mile walk in Raleigh from the N.C. Museum of Art to Umstead State Park.
It’s a sad day when a trail network is closed. It’s a happy day when it reopens — improved and better able to accommodate our recreational needs. That’s the case with the eight-mile Emerald Outback trail network at Beech Mountain.
On Saturday, a daylong celebration is planned on this, one of the highest trail parks east of the Rockies.