Mountains-to-Sea Trail – Out of the mountains

Starting with 517.5 miles, 84,000 ft. ascent

MST18B-Danny in field

Mountain Park Community Church to Dobson Library

10.75 miles, 750 ft.ascent

“Are you ladies doing this for fun or do you want to see who freezes first”? asks a guy in a pick-up truck?

If you’re walking on the road when everyone else is driving, you always get a reaction. And when the temperature is below freezing, you really get attention. A concerned woman stopped and asked if we had a place to stay and did we need a lift. Did we look homeless?

“No, we’re fine,” Sharon and I said. But I couldn’t resist the urge to educate everyone who stopped us about the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

That’s the thing about hiking challenges. After a while, you don’t question why you’re walking a 1,000 miles from Clingmans Dome to the Atlantic Ocean. You just plan how you’re going to walk the next section and just do it.

Walking on back roads might seem boring but it’s fascinating. This section was a little more upscale than yesterday. Large snow covered farms with black steer looking at us very seriously.

MST18B-blood washed Fewer churches than yesterday but the ones we passed were different. The church below is the Salem Fork Church which belongs to the Disciples of Christ.

The sign to the left required some explanation. I understood the “blood washed” part but what was the “blood bought”. It evoked the Red Cross but they don’t buy blood. Sharon educated me.MST18B-Salem Fork Church

We picked up a beautiful golden retriever about an hour into our walk. She was friendly and let us pet her right away. Her tags didn’t have her name, though it was obvious she was well taken care of. I called her “Beauty”.

Once we made friends, she followed us for a long way.

MST18B-Sharon and dogThat concerned us, especially since she insisted on crossing the road without looking both ways.

We felt she was going to get hurt. Cars and trucks braked to avoid her. We needed a sign, saying “This is not our dog, honest!”


After about two milles, she met a dog on a farm and left us abruptly. No goodbyes or any other indication. Just up and left us. We were relieved.


MST18B-At the DQFive miles into our walk, we passed a DQ and gift store in front of the motel we stayed at. We stopped and had a midmorning snack.It was not easy to get back into the cold.

MST18B-View of Pilot MtWalking toward Dobson, we passed a spot where we could see Pilot Mountain, Hanging Rock and further on Fancy Gap in Virginia on the left. Looking right, we saw Grandfather Mountain. What a view! It put our walking in perspective.

I wanted to do something to commemorate finishing the mountains. I tried to do a video with  my camera but it came out terrible so we’ll have to wait until I practice a little more.

MST18B-At Dobson libraryFinally, we reached the outskirts of Dobson and the Dobson Library.

Again we educated a few people about the MST going right through their town. They all said they were going to “look it up.”

We’ve reached a major milestone. We’ve walked from Clingmans Dome to Hanging Rock plus about 50 miles around Falls Lake. Next year, we’ll have a lot of road walking to do.

Jockey’s Ridge, here we come!

Cumulative after Day 45, 528.25 miles, 84,750 ft. ascent


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