It’s been awhile, friends, but we’re still here – and we’re hiking!

IMG_0006

We’ve been slowly, surely section-hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which stretches across North Carolina from – you guessed it – the mountains (Clingmans Dome in the Smokies) to the sea (the Outer Banks)! As of today, we’ve hiked 5.52% of the MST’s 1,175 miles. It’s a small and funny number – but one that we’re proud of.

After a short two-night section-hike in Linville Gorge last summer, we’ve focused our efforts on day hikes near Durham, where we live. Around here, the MST traces the edges of the beautiful, mammoth Falls Lake (we still have over 30 miles around the lake to cover), and the Eno River (one of our favorite spots for short hikes). Here are some photo highlights from these lush sections.

Y’all. Section-hiking is a lot of work! In many ways thru-hiking is simpler; you hop on the trail, and your job for the day is to cover miles, set up camp, sleep, and wake up and do it again the next day. With some luck and grit, you can build up your stamina and become a hiking machine.

But with section-hiking, you’ve got to fit short sections into your regular routine, coordinating the pick-up and drop-off locations of each leg, and making lots of trips to and from different trailheads. Plus, you never quite get your “trail legs.” But that’s real life, isn’t it!?

One most excellent bonus of section hiking, though: You still get the sunlight through the trees, the stunning views, the muddy shoes – AND at the end of it, you get to shower and sleep in your own bed at night. Boom.

In the last few weeks’ morning hikes, we’ve been fortunate to witness the transformation of the seasons in the woods. Bare trees have given way to every shade of green, and the days are getting warmer. As we head further into spring and summer, there’s still SO much of the MST to explore – nearby and on the other ends of this expansive state. We’ll keep trekking, and we’ll keep you posted!

Happy trails,

Veggie

P.S. Big news! We have a new companion on our travels: Ruby! She’s our year-old pup, and while she doesn’t quite have thru-hiking legs or stamina (yet), she’s great company, and she keeps us very entertained on the trail.