Mountains-to-Sea Trail – Sauratown, Day 1

Starting with 151.2 miles, 20,300 ft. ascent

Dobson Library to Blackwater United Methodist Church
7.3 miles, 450 ft. ascent – 3:10 hours


Sharon and I are back on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

We left the Dobson library after we introduced ourselves to the librarian. She had faintly heard of the MST because Scot Ward came in to sell her books. She took our picture in front of the library.

Dobson, NC? Where are we? We’re in between Stone Mountain State Park and Pilot Mountain State Park, roughly north of Winston-Salem, in Surry County and in the middle of the beautiful Yadkin Valley according to the visitor center. We walked through Dobson, the biggest town on this section.

MST5-Dobsonfleamarket I wanted to see North Carolina and I’m seeing it – the courthouses, the fast food joints and an impromptu flea market.

We crossed US-601 and were now walking on the side of the road, designated as a bike path. And this is where I started to learn road manners and challenges.

We wore an orange vest that Lenny had bought us from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. On the back, it said “Don’t Shoot We’re Hikers”. I also found North Carolina flags on a pole that we stuck in the side pouch along with our water bottles. I learned how to take that whole contraption (daypack, vest and flat) on and off in one piece. Sharon pointed out that you put the vest on the backpack and hoist it up on your back together. But she had to check that I had my vest on the right way and that the flag was flying and not stuck and trapped inside. I missed all these flag rules in grade school and had to read about them as an adult.

Other changes from trail walking.

It’s hard to find places to sit and have a snack or to go to the bathroom. Drivers honked at us and we replied by waving or raising our sticks. But it was the dogs that were the big problems. When we passed a house, a dog (or three) ran out barking furiously.

MST5-trailer The poorer the house, the larger and more ferocious sounding the dog. We crossed the road immediately but many dogs crossed with us. I held my stick out perpendicular to my body and waved it around, showing that I meant business. Jeff Brewer of the Friends of the MST warned me about the dog problem and suggested pepper spray. I bought some but stupidly kept it in my pack for a time. Neither of us got bitten on this trip but I found it nerve racking.

But, to use my favorite expression, I “got over it”. Dogs were going to be the dangerous animals on this stretch and I had to deal with them.

MST5-horses We were walking in bucolic farm landscape. Look at those beautiful horses. Where could we see that in the woods? 

The walking was very easy. Even with dealing with dogs, waving to cars and talking to people in front of their houses, we were walking way over two miles an hour.

Cumulative after day 12 – 158.5 miles, 20,750 ft. ascent


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