First 100 miles of the MST are in…the…bag!

We continue to weekend-warrior our way across North Carolina; sometimes far afield, but, more often, right in our own backyard. Just yesterday, we completed Section 10 of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail with a late-afternoon jaunt in the Shinleaf Recreation Area with friends. We were still eating cobwebs as the sun was setting—a sign that this beautiful section of trail is sorely underutilized. At some point, the joy of having the woods all to yourself has yield to a natural trail-evangelism. So, get on out here, folks!

Brenna and Jimmy descend towards Falls Lake.

Since our last post, we took a hiatus from the familiarity of the Piedmont and visited the all-the-way-east terminus of the MST—Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Home to the tallest natural sand dunes in the eastern United States, Jockey’s Ridge is, well, really cool. The pencil-thin geography of the Outer Banks makes it so that, from the highest dunes, you can see both sea and sound at the same time. We decided to add to the climactic ambiance by walking to the park from the famed Jennette’s Pier, about five miles south along the beach. If you find yourself in Dare County (especially in the off-season), do yourself a favor and do the same.

Jockey’s Ridge moonscape.

Wes-man making it look easy.

Those are the smiles of two people thinking “please don’t let that hang glider land on us.”

Next on our regular docket are Section 11B—which follows the Neuse River Trail south towards Raleigh and, eventually, Clayton and Smithfield—and Section 9—which heads westward through Hillsborough and Mebane. Unfortunately, these sections involve more pavement than trail. But our strong legs can still run, and there’s much to explore.

A former champion sits rusting at the old Occoneechee Speedway along the MST in Hillsborough.

Until next time,