Mountains-to-Sea Trail – Price Park to Cone Park


Starting with 410.3 miles, 67,050 ft. ascent

MST14-On Rich Mountain Trail

Price Park
to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

13.8 miles 1,500 ft. ascent

Since this section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the drive to the start is quick and Sharon and I are on the trail before 8 A.M.

We have a couple of miles on the Tanawha Trail which flows
right into Boone Fork Trail. We walk through pastures and see several workmen digging ditches to place drainage pipes – it doesn’t go with the farm scene. Of course, this is a pastoral scene on the Parkway.

Once on Boone Fork Trail, the trail
goes back into the wMST14-ontheBFTrailoods and crosses the same stream several times on pre-fabricated bridges. We’re skirting huge boulders and go up and down stone steps.

Then we cross Boone Fork itself. Sharon had brought her water shoes which she didn’t need while I skipped the water shoes that I knew I wouldn’t use.MST14-CrossingBooneFork I plunge straight into the water.

The trail climbs as we enter Moses H. Cone Memorial Park in a section of the park not known by most visitors. People gravitate to the manor house which is also a craft center and maybe go down to Bass Lake.

I love Cone Park.

Maybe it’s the story behind the self-made man of an Jewish-German immigrant family that only the 19th Century could produce. Maybe it’s the house which has been compared to a very modest Biltmore Estate. Or maybe its because the 25 miles of carriage roads are so easy.

We reach Rich Mountain Trail about half-way up to Rich Mountain and go up and down a stile. See the picture above. Then the MST goes down, skirts the manor house and follows Watkin Rd., a trail which takes us out of Cone Park.

The blazes are few in this section and we depend on Scot Ward’s book. I later learned that the Parkway is responsible for blazing this section of the MST, not a group of volunteers. We finish on Old Catawba Rd. and have to cross US321/221, a
very busy road.

We passed a set of Terabithia – little things, cairns that seem like fairies
have placed them. Sharon describes a Girl Scout camp ritual where older girls create a town of little things with rocks, twigs, and twine – chairs, houses, swings
with the twine. Then they invite younger girls, first and second graders,
to see this. They tell them that the fairies have come here and this is where
they lived.

The younger girls are not supposed to talk in case they
scare the fairies away. They just point in amazement.

Cumulative after Day 36, 424.1miles, 68,650 ft. ascent

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