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Welcome start of new season with outdoorsy outing

Mar. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Spring has sprung and that mighty March wind and rain is blowing in and greening up the place.

Here at the start of spring you can catch some slivers of that space between as there are still a few last tracks of spring skiing to be had in the mountains, and closer to home, dozens of trails calling with waterfalls roaring and spring wildflowers poking out to say hello.

Here's a look at just a few cool reasons to get out this weekend.

Uncommonly good canoe trip

A close-by canoe trip is a day-trip through the Tygart's Creek Gorge in Carter County, Ky., and you can join an excursion put together by Carter Caves State Resort Park this weekend. There are BYOK (Bring your own kayak) trips planned for Saturday, March 23 as well as May 11.

Check out the 6-mile kayak trip that cuts through one of Kentucky's most scenic limestone gorges. You will be on the creek for at least 3.5 hours. There will be a side trip into one of Kentucky's largest natural limestone tunnels. Required equipment includes; kayak, paddle, life jacket, the correct attire for cool-weather paddling, a complete change of clothes, treaded footwear, flashlight (for natural tunnel visit), sack lunch, bottled water and a dry bag for your supplies. Participants meet at the Welcome Center at 10 a.m. The cost is $25 per person. Limited space available; preregistration is required. Call the park's recreation department to register, 1-800-325-0059.

Go fly a kite

Nothing screams March like the tail of a dragon whipping high as if it could touch the clouds.

You can channel your inner Charlie Brown as folks of all ages can make and fly a kite at Boyd County Public Library's Kite Day on Saturday, March 23. The program starts at 2 p.m. at the Kyova Branch, located in the Kyova Mall, across from Elder-Beerman.

The library will provide all the supplies to make a kite or a windsock. Then, weather permitting, participants will go outside and take them on a test fly. Reasonable accommodation for people with special needs should be requested at least 48 hours prior to a program. Call 606-329-0518, ext. 1140, for more information.

For more information on Kite Day, call Kyova at 606-929-5346.To learn more about all library programs and services, visit www.thebookplace.org.

Backpacking workshop/ trip at Carter Caves

Since not everyone is cool with just heading off into the woods by themselves, Carter Caves has got you covered as expert guide Andy Niekamp of Outdoor Adventure Connection is leading a beginner's backpacking trip set for Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24.

Niekamp, who many folks may know as the webmaster and volunteer for Winter Adventure Weekend at Carter Caves, will distill some of his lifetime of backpacking knowledge since he has chalked up an astounding 12,000 miles of backpacking experience including three end-to-end hikes of the Appalachian Trail. He has also hiked Kentucky's Sheltowee Trace, Ohio's Buckeye Trail, Vermont's Long Trail and many others trails.

During this backpacker's weekend, Niekamp will give folks six workshops and lead an overnight trip. A $60 fee includes all workshops, Saturday dinner and smores around a campfire. Rental backpacking gear available.

For more information, visit www.outdooradventureconnection.com/events-cartercaves.php and you can call the park at 606-286-4411 or 800-325-0059.

Catch a cool event and a full moon

A great roadtrip is heading into southcentral Kentucky to the world famous Cumberland Falls State Resort Park where the Niagara of the South, the Cumberland Falls is known for its moonbow.

With the full moon set to shine March 27, you might be able to catch one the weekend of March 22-24, and can catch a cool event in the process as Cumberland Falls State Resort Park will have Native American Weekend with storytelling and flute music on Friday; Indian myths, Indian activities and sites near the park, and dancing on Saturday; and the role of spirituality on Sunday.

From 4:30 to 8 p.m., The Riverview Restaurant will have its annual buffalo buffet Saturday evening, March 23. Call 1-800-325-0063.

Get your pick on

Enjoy a southern West Virginia woodsy getaway while learning how to flat pick the guitar from three guitarists, Robin Kessinger, Robert Shafer and Jim Ritchey.

They'll be holding court for the annual are Guitar Workshop Weekend set for March 22-24, at Twin Falls Resort State Park in Mullens. The Guitar Workshop Weekend is $140 per person and includes two nights' lodging, the workshop fee, a full lunch on Saturday and Sunday, break refreshments, and door prizes. Workshop only is $70. Advance reservations are required.

Call 304-294-4000 or visit online www.twinfallsresort.com.

Rock 'n' roll rafting

Whitewater rafting season starts March 22 on the Lower New River. There are some sweet deals rolling for more experienced rafters who don't mind donning the wetsuit and taking a ride on the wild side of the New when spring rains boil up bus-sized rapids, trailer-sized holes and freight-train current making the bottom half of Lower New an 8-mile long class-V rapid with such beasts as Greyhound, Double Z and of course, Surprise.

Songer is running a special through 5 p.m. Friday, March 15 for $69 full-day trips March 22 through April 30, $79 May 1-23 and $89 May 24- June 9. Minimum age is 12 but they ask that rafters be experienced. Call 1-866-576-1935.

Keep calling wildflowers

The West Virginia Native Plant Society (WVNPS) will host several events in Elkins, W.Va., on Saturday, March 23 and both members and non-members are invited.

Festivities will begin at 12:30 in the Monongahela National Forest, Supervisor's Office, at 200 Sycamore St., Elkins. P.J. Harmon, Rare and Endangered Species/ Natural Heritage Botanist with the WV Division of Natural Resources, will give a presentation, "The Federally Threatened and Endangered Plants of West Virginia." At 1 p.m. hikers will meet outside in the back of the building. There will be two field hikes and everyone who attends will be able to go on both trips. The first hike, led by a duo from the WV Division of Natural Resources, Elizabeth Byers and Jim Vanderhorst, will walk up to see snow trilliums.

The second hike will also include a chance to see another very unique plant, the federally endangered running buffalo clover. This portion of the trip will be led by Brian Streets, botanist with the West Virginia Natural Heritage Program.

For more information, contact Cynthia Sandeno, cmsandeno@fs.fed.us .

Full moon zipline tour

The full moon is Saturday, and the folks over at Harpers Ferry Zipline are running a full moon trip.

This evening zipline canopy tour offers all the challenge and excitement of a day time trip under the light of the moon. The trip departs at sundown giving you a special view of the Potomac River and Historic Harpers Ferry. Call 304-535-2663 or email trips@riverriders.com or visit www.harpersferryzipline.com for reservations and additional information.

A real sap for maple sugar

The Schrader Environmental Education Center in Wheeling is hosting a Maple Sugaring Day on Saturday, March 23. This hands-on, outdoor program includes a nature walk, demonstrations of maple sugaring techniques, history of maple sugaring and a pancake breakfast with fresh maple syrup. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Trail guides depart from the Camp Russel (Oglebay) parking lot every half hour with the last tour leaving at 12:30 p.m. Cost is $7 per person or $6 for Oglebay Institute members. Additionally, each member of a group of 15 or more gets the $6 rate. Children under age 3 are admitted free. Call 304-242-6588 or email schradercustomerservice@oionline.com or visit www.oionline.com for more information.

Follow H-D reporter Dave Lavender on Facebook or Twitter @DaveLavenderHD

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