Through the end of the year, we'll be keeping you updated in this weekly enewsletter on two main events celebrating our 40th Anniversary: MST in a Day and Jennifer Pharr Davis Hikes the MST. 

If you have friends who love to hike, please forward this enewsletter and encourage them to sign up and get involved.
40th Anniversary Weekly Coverage

No. 10, October 11, 2017

Jennifer Pharr Davis: The need for speed no more

As Jennifer Pharr Davis and her crew - husband Brew, daughter Charley, and son Gus, work their way across the state on the MST, Jen files a weekly blog reflecting the journey. This week: Hiking at age 21 vs. 34.

Two pregnancies, 24 months of nursing, one knee surgery, and six months of physical therapy all separate me from my last hike of over a thousand miles.

Time has passed, seasons have changed, and somewhere amid the transition, I lost my top gear. Most days I don't have a desire or need to hike quickly but there's still a sense of loss when I realize that I'm not as fast as I used to be.

My body also takes longer to recover. I used to stare in bewilderment at the hikers who started their day with stretches and groans. Now, when I wake up, my achilles feel like taut elastic and my quads are as stiff as mud on a cold day. I have to do a sigh-filled sun salutation just to make it to the toilet.

When I have a couple of hours to catch up on e-mail and write a blog, I can't help but notice that Google's banner ads have targeted me as a prime candidate for cellulite treatments and crepey skin solutions. Before my first baby, my hiking legs showcased veins bulging on the back on my protruding calf muscles; after my second pregnancy, the most visible blood vessels are varicose veins. I'm not sure which is more off-putting, the fact that I have I have "mom legs" or the fact that Google knows about it.

Read more on our website, here.

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Follow Jen! Get the latest news from Jen about her journey: 

What's Brewin' off the trail?
While Jennifer Pharr Davis makes her way across the state on the MST, her support crew - hubby Brew, 4-year-old daughter Charley and just-turned-1 son Gus - join her when they can.

And when they aren't hiking with her, they're having their own adventures just off the trail. Exploring stick houses, for instance (Hillsborough). Or visiting waterfalls (Hanging Rock State Park). Or sampling the state's vast selection of craft beers (along the entire trail).

Follow Brew & crew's off-trail adventures on his Facebook page, here.
The view from Beacon Heights, Segment 4 (photo by Ben Trotter)
MST in a Day: Relive it in photos

Who would have guessed that the same day we elected to hike the entire MST would be the same day that the weather was perfect across the entire state!

Lucky for all of us, that translates to reliving the day over and over in pictures. Fortunately, our MST in a Day hikers savored the day with cameras in hand. The result: a virtual return to September 9 on our Flickr page.

Take a minute to appreciate the trail over and over again, here.

Gear: Hiking poles

We've long searched for the proper incentive to get people to use hiking poles, to get them over the hurdle of thinking they're only for older hikers. Finally, we think we've got a foolproof reason: Jennifer Pharr Davis uses them.

On her first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, as a strong and flexible 21-year-old, Davis left her trusty hiking stick in the back of a shuttle.  "I couldn't go back to the trail without my stick!," she wrote in her 2011 account of her journey, "Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail." " The constant ups and downs with 30 pounds on my back were very hard on my knees, and without a stick they would be unbearable. My hiking stick had become an extension of my hand - I was lost without it."

Read more about the benefits of hiking with poles, here.

Tip: Before you wash those smelly hiking duds ...

You've returned from a great weekend in the mountains - with the dirty, smelly clothes as proof.

Before you blindly toss every smelly item in the wash, give 'em the once over. Check your pockets to make sure, say, your Leatherman isn't still aboard. That map in your back pocket won't fair well in in the hot-water cycle, and the change from that life-saving soda-and-chips you scored at the mom-n-pop grocery on your way out will drive everyone nuts in the spin cycle. Be particularly thorough with those socks; if you had a blister-fest it's unlikely that all the Band-Aids and moleskin withdrew with your feet.

Most of all, search for tissues. Miss even one and you could be looking at a long evening plucking fluffs of white from every article of clothing on the trip.
Check. It just takes a second.

Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Thanks to our sponsors!

There would be no Mountains-to-Sea Trail, no reason to celebrate a 40th anniversary, without the generous support of our many sponsors, including  BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, Great Outdoor Provision Co., REI, Duke Energy, Farm to Feet, First Citizens Bank, Mast General Store, Rostan Family Foundation, New Morning Gallery, AntiGravity Gear, Prestage Farms and Wyrick Robbins.