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.”
As you contemplate your plans to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, contemplate this: what would be the most appropriate way to celebrate your independence, that sense of truly expressing your freedom?
With a hike, of course.
In honor of Independence Day, we’ve come up with 11 hikes that capture — in name at least — the spirit of the day. Find one near you and enjoy. (For additional information, check the links at the end of the list.)
I miss winter.
I realized just how much on Sunday when I found myself in need of a second layer. Light gloves wouldn’t have been bad, either. Or a hat. There’d been snow a ways back, I recalled, and it was cold for a couple days after. But since? I couldn’t recall the last time a hike had started in 30-degree weather.
Allen de Hart, who wrote 11 trail guides, founded the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, hiked more than 65,000 miles by the time he was 86 (and would go on to hike several hundred more), and was generally regarded as the dean of North Carolina hiking, died Oct. 14, in Raleigh. Allen was known for hiking; those who knew him, knew him for much more. GetGoingNC’s Joe Miller remembers the lesser-known side of Allen de Hart.