Mountains-to-Sea Trail – End of the road

Starting with 955.6 miles, 94,950 ft. ascent

MST243-attheend

Otway B&B to Lighthouse Church

15.2 miles, 50 ft. ascent

I can feel the end of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

I have two more days of walking. I’m so lucky that Terry S. of Moorehead City is walking with me. Terry is on the Board of Friends of the MST and is responsible for all the MST from the New Bern bridge to Jockey’s Ridge State Park.

Most of the trail  is on either the road or the beach, so it’s not as if he’s weedwhacking his trail but he still wants to know what it’s like to walk it.

This is oyster country.

MST242-oystering We pass several old buildings that used to process oysters and clams. Now it seems like divers are independent operators.

They dive for shell fish and then sell to wholesalers who then sell to restaurants. Terry emphasizes that each operator has marked his territory and someone else had better not mess with it.

Each little town has a church, houses laid out on the road and not much else.MST242-dannyandinlet We walk through Stacy (population 205) and pass several abandoned houses being swallowed by vegetation.MST242-abandoned house

On the way back, Terry and I go through Beaufort, a historic small boating town. Several businesses offer boat transportation to Cape Lookout National Seashore – that’s the only way to get there. I didn’t leave time for Cape Lookout, so I may just have to come back. 
  
Lighthouse Church to Cedar Island Ferry
14.2 miles, 200 ft.

We’re getting away from the little civilization that we had. Much of the road goes through Cedar Island National Refuge.

Sharon and I first drove to the Cedar Island Refuge two weeks ago, though it now seems like two years ago. Then we had so much time that we stopped at the Refuge Visitor Center. This large Refuge is managed by one guy, Kevin K. He greets visitors, mows the lawn, patrols the road, and answers the phone.

And here he is, cleaning the road after a visitor who had not picked up after his dog.

“Hey remember me? My friend and I stopped at your visitor center,” I say. Of course he does. How many visitors does he get who stop in and listen to his whole history lesson?

After we move on, I tell Terry that I’ve been here too long. “I know people on the road”.

“Worse than that,” Terry says. “They know you.”

We walk into the community of Cedar Island and stop at the variety store to eat our packed lunches. I tell Sherman, the owner, about the MST which goes right past his store. It’s only a mile to the ferry.

MST243-Terryandme“Are you going to touch the water?” Terry asks.

“No because there’s a fence, but I’m going to go as far as I can.” And I do.

There’s only one person waiting for the ferry and I get him to take our picture.

I’m done; I think I’m number 21, the 21st. person to finish.

I’ve completed the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. 

Cumulative after 78 days, 985 miles, 95,200 ft. ascent

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