Tag 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.

Allen DeHart, a real outdoor hero

Allen DeHart
Allen DeHart

Sometimes, outdoor heroes don’t just exist in books and legends. Sometimes, they’ve lived, hiked and wrote within my lifetime. You discuss and even argue issues with them and you celebrate victories with them.

Allen DeHart, who died recently, was the granddad of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Though he wasn’t the dreamer who conceptualized the MST, he was the doer. He designed much of the route, was one of the first two people to hike the MST, helped to build the trail, wrote the first guidebook, and started Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

His day job was as a history professor at Louisburg College, a private two-year college northeast of Raleigh. His drive and energy led him to hike the Appalachian Trail, and write North Carolina Hiking Trails over 35 years ago. The book, still in print, is a classic. Yes, there are classic hiking books.

But his greatest accomplishment is the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. When I interviewed Allen for the Carolina Mountain Club eNews and for my book, The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina in 2010, I also spoke to Kate Dixon, Executive Director of Friends of the MST. She said:
Without Allen, there would be no Mountains-to-Sea Trail today. Since 1977 when the trail was first proposed, Allen became its fiercest advocate. When progress slowed almost to a standstill in the 1990s, he devised a route and set off hiking with a friend to rebuild enthusiasm and show that the dream could be made real.

He wrote a book which allowed others to follow in his footsteps. He founded Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Through his passion and knowledge of trail building, he has recruited and trained many of the trail builders and maintainers who care for more than 400 miles of trail and extend it forward every day.

The only change Kate would make now is to increase the number of miles on footpath to almost 700 miles. As I’ve said repeatedly, many hikers are on the MST throughout the state. Almost 60 hikers have done the whole trail, and enjoy the miles on backroads as much as the trail between two sets of trees.

Allen will be forever remembered as the backbone of the MST. May he rest in peace!

Mountains-to-Sea Trail – CMC Section

image_mini29The popularity of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is growing regionally and even nationally. No surprise here.

I seem to answer the same questions about the Carolina Mountain Club Section of the MST over and over again via email. So I decided to write a permanent page with general information and a list of shuttlers.

Carolina Mountain Club maintains the Mountains-to-Sea Trail from Heintooga Road to Black Mountain Campground. Here are some hints and tips to supplement the excellent advice on the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Friends) website.

1. I assume that you’ve joined Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Go ahead and join online; I’ll wait.

2. I also assume that you’ve read the trail guides on the Friends website. The CMC section of the MST starts at the end of the Peak to Peak Guide (Segment 1A). It goes through Segment 2: The Balsams – Waterrock Knob to Pisgah Inn and Segment 3: The High Peaks and Asheville – Pisgah Inn to Black Mountain Campground.

MST guide front coverCarolina Mountain Club wrote a detailed book with maps on the MST sections it maintains.

Look at MST Trail Profiles and Maps: From the Great Smokies to Mount Mitchell and Beyond by Walt Weber for the Carolina Mountain Club.

I strongly suggest that you buy the book – either locally from the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center store or on Amazon.

4. This section of the MST weaves in and out of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Check this official site to see if the road is open at https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.

For updates and a list of shuttlers, see my webpage, which will be updated as needed.