Outdoor Journal

Shootout by kayak: Watch the region’s best pro and amateur freestyle kayakers duke it out for $5,000 worth of prizes Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24, at the NOC/Dagger Freestyle Shootout. Hosted by the Nantahala Outdoor Center near Bryson City, the contest resembles skateboarding—on water.

Instead of using a half-pipe, kayakers maneuver on river features such as waves and holes. They spin, turn, cartwheel and flip—often going completely airborne. This year’s event features Team Dagger’s Adam Motes, Team Riot’s Spencer Cooke and Chris Gragtmans, NOC’s Brian Jennings, and Tommy Yon of Teams Jackson and Pyranha. Amateur competitors will bust a move, too, and there’s even a category for canoes.

For more information, call (828) 488-2175 or go to www.noc.com and look for the “Festivals and Events” tab.

Outdoor classrooms: What do hawks, medicinal herbs and biofuels have in common? All are among the topics covered in the Blue Ridge Naturalist Program’s 28 fall classes, hosted by the N.C. Center for Creative Retirement at UNCA.

Students can take up birding, go hiking in nearby old-growth forests, study meteorology, soak up fall colors along the Blue Ridge Parkway or examine how to make their homes more environmentally friendly.

The fall term runs from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13, with some courses meeting one day only and others running the entire term. Participants in the outdoor courses must be in good physical condition and be able to walk moderate distances on uneven ground.

Class fees vary, and some require a $40 annual membership for the NCCCR.

For more information or to register, contact Mike McCreary at 251-6198 or mmccrear@unca.edu. A complete course catalog and registration forms are available online at www.unca.edu/ncccr.

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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