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

Feel free to forward this newsletter to your hiker friends so they can sign up and join in the fun!
40th Anniversary Weekly Coverage

No. 5, September 5, 2017

Hiking the MST through Doughton Park.
We're 4 days away from MST in a Day! 

In four days, we will have boots and boats on all 1,175 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, from Clingmans Dome atop the Smokies to Jockeys Ridge on the coast. What a great way to celebrate the day 40 years ago when Howard Lee, N.C. Secretary of Natural Resources at the time, first proposed the idea of a statewide trail.

A few last-minute notes:
  • As we neared filling all 300 legs of the trail, we noticed that the total of hikers and paddlers was nearing 1,000. Hmm, we thought: another couple hundred hikers and we could have a hiker for every mile of trail as well. So we created a secondary goal of enlisting at least 1,175 hikers for MST in a Day. If you know someone who would like to hike but hasn't signed up, give 'em a nudge to sign up at
  • Where parking permits, we've added more slots to certain Segments. In Segment 10 through the heavily populated Triangle, for instance, we've added 65 openings on 12 legs. If there was a leg you wanted to hike but it was full, check again: it may have an opening.
  • On Thursday, we will send a guide to each hiker (hopefully at least 1,175 of you) who has signed up going over pertinent safety and logistical issues. In the meantime, you can get most of your questions answered via our MST in a Day FAQ.
  • As you prepare for Saturday, we recommend that you download the Trail Guide for your Segment. To find your leg(s) of the trail in the guide, check the beginning and ending mileage markers on the Meetup site where you signed up, or on your Segment page at All significant twists and turns will be noted on that page. We'll have more detailed instructions on how to use the guide in Thursday's email.
  • And yes, we are keeping an eye on the weather. We will be in touch with you if it looks like it might affect our day on the trail.
Jen, Brew and the kids celebrate on top of the East Coast, at 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell
Charley twirls atop 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell, the highest point on the East Coast.
Jennifer Pharr Davis: Enjoying the 'home trail advantage' 

As she and her family cross the state on the MST, Jennifer Pharr Davis is filing weekly blog posts. This week: the "home trail advantage."

In the past two weeks we have covered more than 180 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. But if we were on any other path, in any other state, I doubt we would have made it this far.

After we started in the Smokies and Brew got sick on DAY TWO, we knew that we needed some extra help so that he could rest and start to feel better. Immediately, people stepped forward to help us on our journey. We had friends offer to shuttle me to the trailhead, family members took turns watching our kids, once or twice there was food delivered to the trail or to our doorstep.

There is something in sports called the'Home Court' advantage and hiking on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail it is clear we are experiencing attributes of being on our 'Home Trail.'

Continue reading here.

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Follow Jen! Get the latest news from Jen about her journey in several ways: 
You can also hear her account of the trail first hand at one of three remaining public appearances Jen will make along the way: in   Winston-Salem on September 21, Raleigh on October 10, and Wilmington on Oct. 26. A dmission is a gift to Friends of MST, with a suggested minimum of  $1 0  per person to help cover costs of th event.   Seating is limited, so sign up soon.

Questions? Answers!

You MST in a Day hikers ask a lot of questions. A lot of good questions! Questions such as:

Will people be hiking the road sections?

Answer: You betcha. As you may know, about 680 miles of the trail are trail or beach, and the remainder is currently on mostly back-country roads.  For safety, we request no children on the road. Walk facing traffic, on the shoulder, and wear bright colors.  The road may be sunny so wear your hat, use sunscreen, spray insect repellent. 
You can find more frequently asked questions about our September 9 hike here. And if you can't find  the question on your mind, send it to us at  and we'll add it to the FAQ (along with an answer) .
More on Dogs on the trail

Last week we answered, incorrectly, a question about whether dogs are allowed on the trail. Two key points to clarify:
  • While dogs were once prohibited from a stretch of the MST that piggybacks on the Tanawha Trail on Grandfather Mountain, that is no longer the case. Leashed dogs are now allowed on that stretch.
  • Regarding National Forests, dogs must be on a six-foot leash in developed recreation areas and on interpretive trails. There are no leash requirements in general forest areas. In the mountains, the MST passes through portions of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests, at the coast, it spends some time in the Croatan National Forest.

Hiking tip: Drink! (Starting now)

We can't overstate the need to stay hydrated on Saturday. And that doesn't mean just taking a water bottle with you on the trail. Start drinking a little extra water today; your cells will absorb the liquid putting them in fightin' hydrated condition for the big day.

For the hike itself, it's one thing to bring water, it's another to bring water you want to drink. We suggest filling your water bottle half to three-quarters full Friday night and sticking it in the freezer. Top it off Saturday before heading out. If you use a hydration bladder, fill it with ice, then water. 
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.