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More than 2700 Birthday Miles Hiked!
The initial tally from hiker reports submitted by Tuesday evening show that 434 hikers cumulatively covered 2,756 miles on the MST last weekend, for an average of 6.4 miles per hiker.  What a wonderful MST birthday celebration! 

We'd still love to hear from those who hiked and haven't reported in yet - it's super easy to do.  Click here for the form.  We'll retally next week after we're back to normal and report back with final numbers on our Facebook page and website.

We're excited to share these highlights from the weekend with you:

On a hot Friday in Pender County, 100 hikers covered an average of 4 miles each, for a total of 400 miles. Kudos to Pender County Health Department, Pender Memorial Hospital, Pender County Tourism, Burgaw Parks and Rec, Cape Fear Community College, Cape Fear Early College and Pender County Planning Department for organizing this event, recruiting hikers and providing a birthday cake!

Mary Stewart hiked 36.3 miles in the Smokies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to reach Clingmans Dome and complete her section hike of the entire MST - the 96th completer & fourth this year. Her son Hall and friends Linda and Russ who live near Asheville joined her. On Friday they hiked from Newton Bald to Nettle Creek campsite #52; Saturday, they hiked to Deep Creek and up to Clingmans Dome Road.   Mary said "When we were getting near the road, we met some MST section hikers and they made me a victory arch with their trekking poles to hike through. Hall and I went to Dillsboro to spend the night and pick up a cake. On Sunday the 9th we did the last jaunt to Clingman's Dome. I set the cake up in the back of my car and just announced to people walking by we were having an MST birthday party. Several people joined us and wanted to hear all about the trail and my hike." Congratulations Mary!
Raleigh-based Boy Scout Troop 321 with 14 scouts and support from Millbrook High School's JROTC progrom worked Saturday and Sunday on an Eagle Scout Project building a bridge on the Falls Lake MST.  This bridge spans a gully right off Creedmoor Road in Segment 10 of the trail and is at one end of a very popular day hike called the Long Haul.  Thanks for celebrating the trail with service!

HikeItBaby Durham was represented with 2 moms and 2 kids at Penny's Bend on the Eno River. A 2.5 year old led most of the 1.5 mile hike.  They said of their hike,  "Hike in the books and recorded! Small group, but we had a great time! Picture is from the end of the hike, hence to relatively unimpressed kiddos! LOL." Glad they all could join us to celebrate!

Other notables from the birthday weekend: 
  • Thru-hikers Jeff & Debra Rezeli biked from Hillsborough to Haw River then hiked to Indian Golf Course via the Haw River Trail, a total of 28 miles on Saturday, then Sunday biked 25 miles Burlington to Greensboro followed by an 11 mile hike from Lake Townsend to Lake Brandt - a total of 64 miles in 2 days.
  • Boy Scout Troop 318 from North Raleigh had 5 hikers do 3 miles and 5 hikers do 4.2 miles.
  • As part of the Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge Eastern NC training, 20 hikers covered 20 miles.
  • Tony Lee (aka, "Hiking T Lee") hiked 26.2 miles during the 3 day Birthday weekend. He reports that this pushed his total mileage on MST segment 10 past 3000 miles since March 2017, during which time he has lost over 50 pounds. 
  • Shaun Price ran 16 miles Sunday on his 36th birthday.
  • Joe Miller and GetGoingNC organized a couple of Birthday Hikes.
  • Rattlesnake Lodge may sound like a scary place, but seven MST friends from the Asheville area know better and enjoyed a birthday hike there.
  • Three paddlers did 14 miles on the Neuse River from NC 42 to US 70 in Smithfield and saw beautiful birds, kingfishers, herons, an osprey and a curious eagle.
  • On Saturday, Natalie Smith and 2 friends hiked 20.2 miles along the Eno River.
Add your story and miles to these!  Report your hike.
The days to come...
We've heard from thru-hikers Debra and Jeff Rezeli and Deirdra "Beerdra" Smith, and know they are off-trail and hunkered down.  We're counting on the rest of our MST family to stay off the trail until Florence has made her way out of the area and it's safe to venture out again.  We especially hold our 2019 Gathering of Friends hosts Surf City and Pender County in our hearts as they brace for Florence's arrival.  

We'll be alert for information about the trail's condition as it comes from volunteers, land managing agencies and others.  Those updates will be posted on our Trail Updates page on the website.  To report any trail issues, please email and we will pass on your report to the land managers and volunteers in that area.

Please use all your good sense in the coming weeks, and we will see you on the trail again, soon!
Kate & Betsy

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