MST Gathering of Friends
by Marcia Bromberg
Announcing the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail annual Gathering of Friends March 26th-29th in Surf City, NC. Have you ever wondered about what the MST looks like when it leaves the mountains? Are you ready for a mini-vacation at the shore? Then the 2020 Gathering of Friends is where you need to be!
Every year FMST member from across the state gather to renew friendships, swap trail tales, learn about what's new with the MST and, of course, hike. Surf City is part of the new Coastal Crescent portion of trail that takes hikers through fascinating forests filled with exotic carnivorous plants and native long leaf pines as well as a section right on the beach.
The annual meeting portion of the gathering includes interesting speakers and an update on trail activities. But most of the weekend is for fun--hikes, paddles, excursions, entertainment and visits to local points of interest. To learn more about the Friends go to
and click on the link for the Gathering. Or if you're already planning to attend,
See you in Surf City (where it's "two to one")!
CMC Members - Albeit Wearing Other Hats - Win Top Honor from NC State Parks
By Mike Williams
John Whitehouse, Jake Blood and the Burnsville hiking club they formed 10 years ago to maintain neglected trails in the Black Mountains have received the 2019 Locke Craig Award for work at Mt. Mitchell State Park. The cited work includes a major rehab project on the CMC's MST section of the Mt. Mitchell Trail.
When Burnsville residents Jake Blood, a retired Air Force Lt. Col. who worked as an intelligence officer, and John Whitehouse, a retired nuclear engineer (Phd), joined CMC in the mid-2000s, they quickly became active members of the club's trail crews, work they truly enjoyed. So much so that Whitehouse went on to become the Monday Crew Chief, while Blood served a term on the Board of the Friends of the MST.
As much as they enjoyed that work, however, both were frustrated that CMC did not maintain most of the trail network that covers the Black Mountains, the tallest mountain chain in the Eastern U.S. Far afield and very rugged, the Blacks require a huge investment of time and energy when it comes to trail work. Simply hauling tools to the Crest can require a 3-hour hike and a brutal climb of 3,000 feet.
To read more,
Congratulations to Rocko Smucker
The Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA) has used a Rocko Smucker drawing for the cover of its 2020 Membership Directory. More information about the ALDHA (1800 members) can be found at
From the Membership Directory:
THE FRONT COVER
Many thanks to Rocko Smucker for the use of his artwork. Rocko has been a trail maintainer with the Carolina Mountain Club for sixteen years. The CMC is responsible for 94 miles of the A.T., from Davenport Gap, TN to Spivey Gap, NC. The drawing is a scene of his backpack resting on an A.T. post while he widened narrow-tread in a meadow on his A.T. section from Sam's Gap to Street Gap.
A.T. VOLUNTEER NEWSLETTER & SPECIAL OFFER
by Alivia Acosta
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy started publishing "
" newsletter and blog again for A.T. volunteers. The Register serves as a platform for sharing A.T. management information, reminders for A.T. maintainers, a support mechanism for sharing information between volunteers, and a notification system for upcoming volunteer training events.
In the current issue of the newsletter, A.T. volunteers will find an opportunity to get the A.T. Guthook Guide smartphone app for free when they sign up before February 14.
The Guthook guide is like having a map, a streamlined guidebook, and a place to find crowd-sourced information on the Trail. ATC Regional Director Morgan Somerville says of the app, "it's an asset that volunteers will find useful." People with interest in getting the bi-monthly The Register newsletter sent to their inbox in the future can use the subscribe button in the upper left corner of the current issue.
Call for New Hike Leaders!
by Brenda Worley
Have you ever thought about becoming a hike leader? If so, contact me, Brenda Worley at
or Bruce Bente at
. Either of us will get you started. You will receive lots of support and much appreciation. Almost all of our hike leaders want to continue leading after their first experience. It is a great way to give to the community and your hiking club!
Rotary Clubs in Western North Carolina are Planning an A.T. Hiking Day
by Steve Pierce
The Rotary Clubs in Western North Carolina are planning an A.T. hiking day on Saturday, April 18. Their plan is to have Rotarians hike sections of the A.T. in NC and along the NC/TN border on the same day. The Rotarians planning the event are reaching out to hiking clubs in WNC that might be interested in hiking a section of the A.T. on that day.
If you are a CMC member AND a member of a Rotary Club, please contact Steve Pierce at
to talk about the project. You will likely have heard about the A.T. Day through your club.
If you are a CMC member, NOT a member of a Rotary Club and you would like to hike that day, contact Steve Pierce at
for more information.
Thanks for your interest and I hope to see some CMC members on the A.T. Saturday, April 18.
Trailblazers & Traditionalists: Modern-day Smoky Mountain People by Holly Kays Published by The Smoky Mountain News, 192 pages, $15.95
Reviewed by Danny Bernstein
Holly Kays is one of the best outdoor writers I know. She writes for the Smoky Mountain News, www.smokymountainnews.com, the weekly paper which covers all the news west of Asheville. Although Kays is an all-around journalist of a small-town newspaper, she covers and loves the outdoors. As part of her beat, she interviews many people in the Smokies area. And now, she's chosen and compiled 33 feature stories in a book.