Yesterday afternoon I got to experience new trail. Not new to me, new period.
Earlier this year, volunteers from the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail connected the 60 miles of MST along Falls Lake with 10 miles of trail along the Eno River through its namesake state park. The long-awaited link between Penny’s Bend to Durham’s West Point on the Eno city park penetrates an especially junglelike stretch of the Eno that required little money but a lot of sweat equity by a workforce headed by FMST volunteer Fred Dietrich.
“Did you see the bridge?” asked FMST member John Willis. “We had to haul the 400-pound support beams 100 feet, which was about 99 feet too far.”
The effort is an example of how the vast majority of our recreational trails come to be: through the dedication of volunteers like Fred, John and legions of others.
On Saturday, June 7, you can become one of those legions. June 7 is National Trails Day, a two-decade-old event sponsored by the American Hiking Society in which we celebrate our trails by hiking them, by maintaining them, by building more of them.
So far, according to the American Hiking Society, 25 NTD events are planned in North Carolina; you’ll find a list of them below. We doubt this list is complete, which is why we run it this week. If you have or know of an NTD event not included here, send us the details — or at least point us in a direction where we can find the specifics.
We’ll rerun a more complete list a week from today, on Thursday, June 5. In the meantime, leave Saturday, June 7 open. You have a date with a trail.
The highlight of my weekend: handing a bottle of water to someone.
Close second: taking an hour to clear a two-foot wide, 15-foot-long swath of forest.
Not long ago I decided I should become more giving to the various outdoors communities I benefit from. I’ve written three books about hiking trails, so that seemed a good place to start. And last week I got a Facebook message from a bike team I once belonged to asking for help. Why not? I thought.
In honor of National Trails Day, which is Saturday, we’ve got little but trails on our mind this weekend: trails muddy, trails dry, trails in need of repair and construction. And birds. For a full rundown of the 25 National Trails Day events in North Carolina on Saturday see yesterday’s post.
Saturday is National Trails Day, a day set aside for us to appreciate the more than 200,000 miles of trail in the U.S. Officially, National Trails Day dates back to 1991, when the American Hiking Society deemed that one day a year be set aside to honor our trails; the first NTD, however, didn’t occur until June 5, 1993.