This weekend: MST in a Day 

The MST is well-marked through Holly Shelter.

We'll 'fess up up front: We’ve been working with the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to help them promote MST in a day, what the American Hiking Society believes would be the first time a long trail in the United States has had every inch hiked in a single day.

That would be quite an achievement, and one we don’t want to leave to chance. As of Thursday afternoon, 245 legs of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail had multiple hikers signed up to hike. The remaining 55 each had one hiker, which is leaving the milestone to chance. So today, we’re going to identify the 55 legs with a lone hiker, give you a sense of what those legs are like, then let you know where you can sign up to give those legs some added support.

Coast

The legs:

  • Segment 12B/Agricultural Heartland – Legs 3, 9
  • Segment 13B/Carolina Bay Country – Legs 4, 7
  • Segment 14B/Land of History – Legs 2, 7, 8, 12, 14
  • Segment 15B/Onslow Bight and Jacksonville – Legs 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20
  • Segment 16B/The Croatan -Legs 7
  • Segment 17/The Neusiok and Cedar Island – Legs 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Segment 18/Outer Banks – Legs  10, 11

The skinny: As you may know, not all of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is complete. Of the current 1,175-mile route, about 680 miles is actual trail or beach hiking; the remainder is temporarily routed on roads. The one-hiker legs at the coast fall largely into that category. So it’s a different type of hiking we’re talking here. More walking, really. If you go back far enough, think hitchhiking without the thumb.

Which isn’t to say there isn’t a lot to see. Au contraire, from Civil War battlefields, to a former Rosenwald school, to museums that tell the story of the last two or three hundred years of living Down East, there is plenty to see. There are carrots on these hikes, carrots especially worth the hiking (or whatever) on a gorgeous late summer day (see forecast below).

Saturday forecast: Sunny, with highs in the mid-70s.

How and where to sign up: Go to MSTinaday.org, scroll down to the trail map divided into segments, click on your segment-of-interest. You’ll be whisked to the page for that segment, where you’ll find information on each leg: length, difficulty, surface type, start and end points. You’ll also find the Eastbound Trail Guide Miles: go to the online trail guide section, click on your segment, then find the ETGMs; there, you’ll get a more detailed sense of what the leg is like. Back to the MSTinaDay segment page, click on “Sign Up Now” and you’ll be taken to the Meetup registration site (it’s free and relatively hassle free).

Piedmont

The legs:

  • Segment 6: Elkin Valley – Legs 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
  • Segment 11A-16A: Neuse River Paddle Route – Legs 5, 8, 11-13, 16, 17

The skinny: Segment 11A-16A is a paddle route on the Neuse River, from the Falls Lake dam in Raleigh to just below New Bern. The upper legs of the Neuse have a detectable current (even an easy rapid or two), things slow down as you reach the coastal plain. The legs here are long (most have double-digit mileages), remote, peaceful. If you’re looking to take advantage of Saturday’s fall-like weather (see “Saturday forescast” below), sign up!

In the beautiful Elkin Valley, in an area bridging Stone Mountain State Park with its sister Pilot Mountain, these sections are also on country roads, but country roads that visit places such as Shorty’s Country Store and the Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery. And, Legs 8 and 9 visit Elkin, currently the premier trail town on the MST.

Saturday forecast: Sunny with highs in the mid- to upper-70s.

How and where to sign up: Go to MSTinaday.org, scroll down to the trail map divided into segments, click on your segment-of-interest. You’ll be whisked to the page for that segment, where you’ll find information on each leg: length, difficulty, surface type, start and end points. You’ll also find the Eastbound Trail Guide Miles: go to the online trail guide section, click on your segment, then find the ETGMs; there, you’ll get a more detailed sense of what the leg is like. Back to the MSTinaDay segment page, click on “Sign Up Now” and you’ll be taken to the Meetup registration site (it’s free and relatively hassle free).

Mountains

The legs:

  • Segment 1A/Great Smoky Mountains – Legs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10
  • Segment 1B/Tuckaseegee River Valley Route – Legs 2, 3,4, 5, 7

The skinny: How are there neglected legs in the mountains? you ask, in the Smokies, no less? In the case of Section 1A, because of the lack of access, some of the legs are especially long: Leg 2 is 21.5 miles; Leg 3, 14.3 miles — and these are Smokies’ legs. And eight of the legs are on paved roads. But in the Smokies! And, again, on a day forecast to be more fall-like than summery (see Saturday forecast, below).

Saturday forecast: Sunny, highs from the 50s to low 70s.

How and where to sign up: Go to MSTinaday.org, scroll down to the trail map divided into segments, click on your segment-of-interest. You’ll be whisked to the page for that segment, where you’ll find information on each leg: length, difficulty, surface type, start and end points. You’ll also find the Eastbound Trail Guide Miles: go to the online trail guide section, click on your segment, then find the ETGMs; there, you’ll get a more detailed sense of what the leg is like. Back to the MSTinaDay segment page, click on “Sign Up Now” and you’ll be taken to the Meetup registration site (it’s free and relatively hassle free).

* * *

Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below. 

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of coastal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar

Piedmont

Charlotte

Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triad

GoTriad.com
Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triangle

Triangle.com
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Statewide

Great Outdoor Provision Co. 
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

* * *

 

Like us on Facebook and get health, fitness and outdoors news throughout the day.

GetGoingNC.com

Promote Your Page Too

Leave a Comment

  • Latest Photos

    [slickr-flickr id="47350463@N05" group="n" type="gallery" items="6" flickr_link="on" descriptions="on"]
  • Latest Video

    [youtubefeeder]
  • Blog Categories

  • Archive