Friends in high places: The Carolina Mountain Club needs your help. This Saturday, club members are working to extend the Mountains-to-Sea trail west from Balsam Gap (near Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 442) - a noble cause if ever there was one. At 9 a.m., volunteers will meet at the Moose Cafe on N.C. 191 near the WNC Farmer's Market, then carpool the half-hour drive to the work site. Willing workers may also go directly to the Blue Ridge Parkway Maintenance Office at the Balsam Gap intersection with Rt. 74/23 south of Waynesville. Tools will be available, but if you have digging tools of your own, no one will scold you for bringing them. Be sure to bring lunch and water, too. The section of trail is located in a high, cool portion of the mountains (3,600+ feet), so even with all the grubbing and lugging, you'll feel like a million dollars. For more information, contact Les Love at firstname.lastname@example.org or dial 658-1489.
Tri, tri again: It's not too early to start carbo-loading for the Tsali Challenge Triathlon, scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10 near Bryson City. The event, which is co-sponsored by Nantahala Outdoor Center and Subaru, consists of a three-mile paddle on Fontana Lake, a 4.5-mile trail run and a 12-mile mountain-bike ride. Solo races will be held Saturday; Sunday belongs to teams. Classes include open men, open women, master men, master women and grandmaster (60 years and up.) No mooching: Competitors must bring their own watercraft and bikes. Preregistration ends on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 5 p.m. Register at www.active.com.