On Saturday, September 9, the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is celebrating the trail’s 40th anniversary with MST in a Day—an event that invites hikers to join together to cover every inch of the trail, from Clingman’s Dome on the Tennessee line to Jockey’s Ridge on the coast.
This is an awesome goal. The 1,175 miles of the trail is divided into 20 segments, which are further divided into 300 legs which are between 3 and 5 miles long. Right now, 223 legs have hikers committed to hiking on September 9. But 77 legs of the trail still need your hiking boots on the ground!
Today, to celebrate the reopening of the Outer Banks, we’re focusing on the open legs on the easternmost reach of the trail, Segment 18.
Catherine Peele, the leader coordinating hikers for the 20 legs of Segment 18, reports that all but four of the legs have hikers. Here are her descriptions of the legs in need of legs:
Leg 4: Cape Hatteras Ferry Terminal to Parking on NC 12. – 4.0 miles. After you have watched the choreographed dance of ferries leaving and tourists making their way to Ocracoke, you can leave the parking lot and stop at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum to learn more about the history and culture of the area. Make your way to the beach and start enjoying the nice ocean view.
Leg 5: Frisco Bath House to the Frisco Campground. 2.7 miles. On this segment you end up passing under the Frisco Pier, which is now falling into the water but at one time was a busy spot! Many people still use the area for a good beach day. Coming into the campground you will get to see the Billy Mitchell Airport, the only airport in the area!
Leg 8: Haulover Day-Use Area to Avon Pier. 3.5 miles. The Haulover Day-Use Area is locally known as Canadian Hole (a lot of kiteboarders seem to be Canadian). (I actually had to look at a map to see what day use area they were referring to…I am just used to using the nickname!) On a nice windy day the sky can be filled with a hundred or more kiteboarders and it is a sight to be seen! The end point for this segment is the Avon Pier, where you can grab a fishing pole, walk onto the pier and see if you can catch anything or just ask some locals or tourists how their catch is going.
Leg 12: ORV Ramp #23 to Rodanthe Beach Access. 4.4 miles. A nice sandy beach walk where just like the others you can see all sorts of wildlife – crabs, turtles, maybe spot a whale out in the ocean! You will pass under the Rodanthe Pier, where again you can walk out and fish or just admire the view.
To learn more about these legs and link to the sign-up page on Meetup, go here. (Note that the signup on the Meetup site will indicate that the hike starts at 7 a.m. In fact, these hikes, which are self-led, can occur any time between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. So, it’s possible to do a day trip to the coast to hike your leg or you might choose to fit the hike into a beach getaway weekend.)
Lots of hikers from the GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! programs will be hiking MST-in-a-Day. And we’ll be posting pictures to Facebook and Instagram pages with the hashtag #mstinaday. We’d sure be happy if you joined us.