Category Archives: Mountains-to-Sea Trail

MST in a Day – Have you signed up?

Have you signed up for MST in a Day?

On Saturday, September 9, hikers and paddlers will complete the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in one day.

In honor of the trail’s 40th anniversary, we will walk, run or paddle the whole trail. Each leg is quite short – three to five miles – allowing everyone to participate. Imagine hiking the whole trail, 1,175 miles, with hundreds of your best friends, through 36 North Carolina Counties.

Jennifer Pharr Davis

Everyone who’s anyone in the outdoor world will be there.

That includes Jennifer Pharr Davis, A.T. record holder and National Geographic Adventure of the Year, Mark Woods, retired Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Dolly McLean of REI, and Anna Zanetti and Marielle DeJong of Friends of the Smokies.

How do you sign up? First join Meetup at Meetup.com, if you’re not already a member. Yes, it requires a login and password … but it’s how it all works now. Make sure you can remember your password.

Carolina Mountain Club is responsible for two segments.

Segment 2 runs from Waterrock Knob to the Pisgah Inn. Segment 3 runs from Pisgah Inn to the Black Mountain Campground, which is just east of Mt. Mitchell.

To get started, go to the FMST website.

From Piet’s bench

Now that you’ve joined Meetup, find the Meetup for MST Segment 2 or MST Segment 3. Each portion, or leg, has its own meetup under the general Segment 2 or Segment 3 listing. Find a hike (termed Leg) you want to walk, and RSVP that you plan to hike that leg.

If the one you’ve chosen already has several hikers, perhaps you can move on to a different leg. Later, those choosing the same hike will coordinate to carpool and set up shuttles.
There’s valuable information about this event available right now on the FMST website.

Check it out! Don’t miss this event on Saturday September 9. That’s where all the hikers are going to be.

Friends of the MST Celebrates 40 years!

This past weekend, Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail celebrated its 40th anniversary in Elkin, North Carolina with a gala, meeting and lots of activities. The evening gala attracted about 260 members, the meeting about 290. Here are a few highlights.

Howard Lee and Doris Hammett

Friday evening went back to the past. In 1977, Howard Lee, then Secretary of the NC Department of Natural Resources and Community Development, announced that there would be a hiking trail through North Carolina. Howard, now on the board of Friends of the MST, was at the meeting. So was Dr. Doris Hammett who had chaired the Fourth National Trails Conference where Howard spoke. Doris was also a leader in the trail building Task Force in Haywood County.

Saturday was all about the future. What would the trail look like in the next 40 years, in 2057? Each table brainstormed the future of the MST. Our table came up with:

  1.  One million hikers have completed the trail.
  2. The MST is all on footpath
  3. Hostels and campsites will enable hikers to hike the whole trail smoothly.

Even I won’t be around in 40 years to see this happen but these are important goals.

Kate Dixon and her award

Kate Dixon, Executive Director of Friends of the MST since 2008, received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, a major, major award in North Carolina. Pretty impressive.

Here’s a little information about this award.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society
Among the most prestigious awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina is The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. It is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.

Jennifer Pharr Davis, who we all know as the past record holder of the fastest person on the Appalachian Trail, was the keynote speaker.

Jennifer Pharr Davis

She will walk the MST starting in August to publicize the trail and encourage everyone to get out there. Her husband, Brew, will handle the logistics for Jennifer’s hike. It takes support of all kinds to walk the MST.

Jennifer will hold events in the communities around the MST and will invite hikers to walk with her. She emphasized the healing and uplifting power of nature.

No, Jennifer won’t be running. This is a different kind of project. I managed to take a picture of her with Gus, her younger child.

To my amazement, I received recognition for my involvement on the MST.  I received a beautifully framed print of the certificate now given out to MST completers.

Kate and me with a plaque

In my thank you remarks, I emphasized that in our efforts to get the MST off the road, we don’t forget that the MST is more than a walk between two sets of trees.

I hope we don’t lose the history of our state that we can now see on the road – the mills, cabins, tobacco barns, historic plaques, hamlets, old advertising – and major reminders of the American Revolution and even a little of the Civil War. 

Speaking of history, the photo at the top of the blog post is of an American Revolution encampment in Elkin set up for the weekend. The town is the eastern end of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and very proud of its part in the Revolutionary War.

It’s going to be difficult to top this meeting. So let’s just get on the 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.

OVVI

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.