As we watched the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in a Day tally map go from red to green, as we read the comments from hikers sharing their experiences on Facebook and Instagram, and as we shared the day on the trail with more than 50 other hikers, a thought occurred:
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.
On Sept. 9, 1977, Howard Lee, then secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural Resources and Community Development, introduced the notion of a trail spanning the state. That notion has since evolved into the 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail, extending from Clingman’s Dome high in the Smokies on the Tennessee line, to Jockey’s Ridge, occupying a lower post at the coast.
This year, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail, its birth dating to Sept. 9, 1977, when Howard Lee, then Secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural Resources and Community Development, told a National Trails Symposium in Waynesville that North Carolina should blaze a “state trail from the mountains to the coast, leading through communities as well as natural areas.”