Category Archives: Mountains-to-Sea Trail

This summer, hike the mountains of the MST

Back in January I got to thinking about where I haven’t been in too long and thus, where I would love to explore this summer. 

I didn’t have to think long: the mountain portion of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Now, I hike the MST nearly every day, since I can pick it up a couple blocks from my front door in Hillsborough. And while I never tire of this stretch, nor of the other 120 miles I hike with some frequency through the Triangle, there’s something about the MST’s nearly 350-mile run through the mountains that’s especially enchanting — and diverse, capturing both the rugged beauty of the Southern Appalachians and its moments of intimate calm. Here’s a look at three favorite sections, all along the Blue Ridge Parkway. read more

This year, plan your own First Day Hike on the MST

A secluded stretch of the MST in Durham County

First Day Hikes have been a tradition in N.C. State Parks for nearly a decade.

Unfortunately, there’s been nothing traditional about 2020, and there will be no First Day Hikes as we usher in 2021. 

“Parks are not hosting any guided First Day Hikes on January 1,” states a notice on ncparks.gov. “We encourage park visitors to conduct their own First Day Hikes with members of their household. Please note that parks may be busy on New Year’s Day, so please be prepared for parking delays and make backup plans.” read more

Monday, Monday: A run of MST hiked ‘just enough’

A dozen summers ago I tried to hike a section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail off Redwood Road in Raleigh and was quickly thwarted. About 20 yards in, the trail disappeared into a sea of summer growth, of saplings and grasses and ground covers all prospering in the heat of the season. I was bummed, because I’d hiked this stretch, Day-Hike Section P, of the MST several times, but, apparently, every time in winter, when the less hardy species had gone into cold storage. The problem in summer: no one hiked this stretch, in large part because not many folks knew it was there.  read more

Monday, Monday: Our Weekend in 45 Seconds

If you want proof of the healing powers of nature, look at the extended spring with which we’ve been gifted. A handful of days in the 80s, some rain, but for the most part, temperatures in the low 70s, dry skies, sun. The kind of days you expect (but still greatly appreciate over) in early spring, the kind you marvel over on the doorstep of summer. It’s hard not to think we’ve been given this wether to help us cope with the weird times we live in. read more