We have this remarkable path working its way across the state called the Mountains-to-Sea-Trail. It’s western end is atop Clingman’s Dome, on the Tennessee state line in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To the east, it ends (or begins) atop Jockey’s Ridge — whichever dune happens to be highest on the day in question. About 550 miles of the estimated 1,150-mile trail is complete.
This weekend offers a reprieve from the recent run of summerlike weather. With highs no higher than 75 forecast statewide, the weather should be good for just about any pursuit, from birding at the coast, to hiking in the Piedmont to ride in the mountains.
Saturday, 30 hikers with our GetHiking! Triangle hiking group set off on an ambitious, but certainly not arduous, task: To hike all 60 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake. In Greensboro, our GetHiking! Triad group likewise launched a month of exploring the MST with a 5.7-mile hike on a section it piggybacks on the Sauratown Trail between Hanging Rock and Pilot Mountain. And this Saturday, GetHiking! Charlotte will commence its month-long exploration of the MST with a hike from the Basin Cove Overlook to the Devil’s Garden Overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb.
Fred Dietrich, who oversees construction and maintenance of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in Durham and Orange counties, reports: “2013 was a good year for the Eno River Section of the MST trail. Thanks to your hard work we were able to keep the trail maintained, and to build the final section and final bridge to complete the trail between Penny’s Bend and West Point on the Eno.
“Over the past five years,” he adds, “we have built three sections of trail that are now part of the completed 14.8 miles of trail from Pleasant Green Road to Penny’s Bend.”
Nearly 15 miles of uninterrupted trail from Pleasant Green Road to Penny’s Bend. And at Penny’s Bend, you hook up with another 60 miles of uninterrupted MST along the south shore of Falls Lake.
That’s 75 miles of uninterrupted hiking on natural surface trail.
How does a metro area come to have a 75-mile (and growing) hiking trail in its midst? Same way the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, stretching from Clingman’s Dome to Jockey’s Ridge, is now more than 500 miles finished: because of people such as yourself. People who don’t mind rolling up their sleeves once a month and spending a Saturday building and maintaining trail. If you haven’t yet joined the ranks of dedicated MST volunteers, now’s the time to do so. We’ve even got a list of Fred’s monthly work days that you can jot into your calendar. Pencil ready?