Outdoor Journal

Absolutely batty: The Nature Conservancy is now taking reservations for hikes at its Bat Cave Preserve in Hickory Nut Gorge. The relatively short, easy walk passes through woods boasting rare vegetation and arrives at the mouth of the largest granite-fissure cave in North America.

The two-hour hikes are offered Wednesdays and Saturdays from June 7 through August 9, departing at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. Cost is $10 per person, and reservations are required. To learn more or to make a reservation, call 350-1431 and select option 4 or e-mail mtn_volunteers@tnc.org, leaving the date and time of the hike you wish to attend, as well as contact information.

Don’t miss it: Sweat. Sore muscles. Crowds. Companionship. Live music. It’s nearly time again for the Mountain Sports Festival, which commands Carrier Park in Asheville and the hills around on Saturday, May 31, and Sunday, June 1. This year the festival features an expanded menu of demos, races, clinics and musical entertainment. Sunday’s goings-on will also include a gear swap. Look for a complete festival guide in the May 28 edition of Mountain Xpress. Until then, call 251-4029 for information or visit the MSF’s stylish new Web site (www.mountainsportsfestival.com).

Do it for the fish: The Land O’ Sky chapter of Trout Unlimited will hold its second annual fundraiser barbecue at Lake Logan on Saturday, June 14. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit’s conservation and education programs.

Advance tickets—sold online (www.landoskytu.com) and at Curtis Wright Outfitters locations (www.curtiswrightoutfitters.com)—are $25 for adults and $10 for children 6 to 12. (Children under 5 get in free.) Purchased at the event, tickets are $30.

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