Category Archives: Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Friends of the MST meeting – before and after

The Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail 40th anniversary meeting and gala promises to be one to remember. It’s next weekend – Friday March 24 to Sunday March 26 in Elkin, NC. Besides the gala  and Saturday meeting,  there will be art stroll, music, and wine and beer, of course.

And we’ll be refighting the Revolutionary War in the South. OK, not fighting, just learning about the various battles.  On Friday March 24: 8:00-5:00 and Saturday March 25: 8:00-3:00, members of the North Carolina Historical Reenactment Society Revolutionary War Unit 6th NC Regiment of the Continental Line (the Sixth), the Yadkin Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Surry-Wilkes Chapter of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association will present Overmountain Victory Trail Revolutionary War Days. Yes, there was plenty of revolutionary war action in the South.

Guilford Courthouse

There will be talks on the Battle of Kings Mountains and Guilford Courthouse – subjects of two national park units that I visited several times. I do hope that the speakers will go beyond “the red stood here and the blue stood there.”

Maybe they might explain one the most fascinating monuments at Guilford Courthouse, the “No North, No South” monument. This monument, erected in 1903, was an attempt to unify the country still raw from the Civil War by pointing out that we were all unified during the American Revolution.

But have no fear. These talks will only be 15 minutes each and be repeated throughout the day.

Muskets and rifles will be fired. Members of the company will be camping in authentic Revolutionary style. I wonder if anyone will be reenacting the redcoats, you know, the British Army soldiers.


The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVVI) unifies several battlefields. Its eastern end starts in Elkin. The western end is in Virginia. There’s a rumor that the Superintendent of the Historic Trail will also be there, talking about OVVI and stamping your national park passport.

But the most fascinating part of all of this for me is talking to the men who are the descendants of the OVVI soldiers. Imagine knowing about your grandfather (N times removed) who lived in the 1780s.

I could give you the schedule but there are so many activities. Just come to Elkin on Friday and enjoy. And though technically, you don’t have to register for the Friends of the MST meeting to participate in the reenactment, just remember who made this possible.

So sign up – I don’t think it’s too late.


Mountains-to-Sea Trail Celebrates Forty Years!

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail turns forty years old this year. And Friends of the MST (Friends) is celebrating in several ways. Come and join us!

At Pilot Mountain

Friday to Sunday March 24 to 26, 2017
Friends of the MST is planning a weekend of hikes, excursions, talks, and discussions in Elkin, North Carolina. This is a chance for for you to meet folks from all over the state and beyond, laud its accomplishments, and plan for the future. Jennifer Pharr Davis, a Carolina Mountain Club member and a past Appalachian Trail speed record holder, will be the keynote speaker.

Elkin, two hours north east from Asheville, is the quintessential small town with big plans, dreams, and energy. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVVI) starts its eastern spur in town. Elkin has worked hard to bring the MST through their town.

Stone Mountain SP

Highlights of the MST Gathering of Friends include:
* The keynote by Jennifer. She will also hike and publicize the MST in 2017.
* Hiking in Stone Mountain State Park, Devils Garden and other MST places that I dubbed the mountains away from the mountains, i.e. the Piedmont.
* Paddling on the Yadkin Valley
* Mountain Biking Clinic. REI will supply the bikes
* Hiking Boot Gala on Friday evening with dinner, music and fellowship
* Winery and Brewery Tours, and …


The activity I’m most anticipating,
An encampment and portrayal of the NC sixth regiment who participated in the Overmountain Victory during the Revolutionary War. They will also lead a short hike on the OVVI.

The Friends gala and meeting are almost at capacity. So go on the Friends of the MST website and sign up.

Giving Tuesday – Who are you supporting?

Today is Giving Tuesday. You know that because you’ve been inundated with requests from nonprofits all across the country.

Poster campaign at OVC
Poster campaign at OVC

Right now, Western North Carolina needs your money more than ever. At no time is this poster more appropriate.

Our public lands are burning. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now closed. The park folks have closed everything because of the wild fires. I don’t know if they’ve ever done this before. Even Park Headquarters is without power and phone service.

But we’re all interconnected here. The Appalachian Trail travels for over seventy miles through the Smokies. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail across North Carolina starts on Clingmans Dome in the Smokies. All of these lands need our help.

At this point our Congress doesn’t even have a budget past December 9. So it’s not going to put any extra money into our public lands. I’m just hoping that Congress will go back to work and pass a budget.

But we’re not helpless. We need to support Friends groups that support the trail. There are so many of them in our area. Choose one and donate your money today. Plan to donate your time and effort on a regular basis.

Don’t wait until the end of the year. Yes, you’ll get a tax deduction but that’s not a reason to support a cause.

Here goes:

Friends of the SmokiesLogoFOTS – which assists Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I lead monthly hikes for the group.


Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail logofmst– which champions the Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina


Great Smoky Mountains AssociationLogoGSMA – which assists the Smokies by managing the bookstores and publishing awesome books and maps.