Our feet have been itching. Fortunately, a long trail – well, really a long trail in progress – stretches right through our backyard. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) runs 1,175 miles west to east across North Carolina. As the name implies, the landscape is remarkably varied. As the MST winds its way down from the Appalachian mountains to the beaches of the Outer Banks, it traverses everything between: farm land, urban greenways, marshes, towns. The trail is still a work in progress, especially compared to the established National Scenic Trails we’re used to. But dedicated volunteers are working to make the dream a reality. As a fun aside (and an indication of its building cred), legendary hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis is hiking the MST as I type.
The thought of section hiking 1000+ miles, bit by bit, weekend by weekend, is somewhat daunting. But we enjoy a good challenge. The weather is lovely here most of the year, and all of the trail is within a few hours’ drive. Plus, it’s fun to have a project.
Few people I’ve spoken with know the MST exists, or that more than 100 miles of contiguous trail encircle Raleigh and Durham. Most of our early attention has been focused on these nearby sections (10 and 11B, if you’re interested in exploring yourself or following along), with the occasional outing farther away, when time permits. For more information, check out Friends of the MST. And if you live nearby, come join us for a day hike sometime!