Through the end of the year, we are publishing this weekly e-newsletter to provide updates about  two 40th anniversary events: MST in a Day and Jennifer Pharr Davis Hikes the MST. 

Because this is a more frequent schedule of e-mails than we usually send, we are only mailing it weekly to people who have signed up for it. But about once a month, including this week, we are sending it to everyone on our e-mail list

If you would like to receive this e-newslettter each week, please sign up for the latest news. And please forward it to your hiker friends so they can get involved too.
40th Anniversary Weekly Coverage

No. 6, September 13, 2017

Photo submitted by Gay Goodroe Rose.
We did it! More than 1,700 hike the MST in a Day
Howard Lee hiked 5 miles on the trail he proposed 40 years ago
Howard Lee hiked 5 miles on the trail he proposed 40 years ago. Photo by Tom Earnhardt.
A letter of thanks, from Board Member Jerry Barker

Dear Victory Crew,

You started down the trail at the stroke of midnight and didn't stop until it was dark again. You hiked, you ran, you paddled. You were surprised by bull elk, marveled at bald eagles, wondered what the message that vulture circling above was trying to send. Many of you hiked with friends, many of you made new friends along the way.

You were part of the best 40th anniversary celebration ever! Rubies? Give me 1,600 trail enthusiasts intent on having the entire Mountains-to-Sea Trail hiked in one day, any day. And now that we've had a chance to hear from you, to check off the 300 legs of trail that comprised the 1,175-mile MST on this special day, we're pleased to announce ...

We did it!

Read the full congratulatory letter and hike recap here.
Jason "The 34.3-mile Man" Taylor. Photo by Mark Taylor.
MST in a Day, by the numbers

Saturday, September 9, numerically speaking:
  • 1,731 - Number of hikers and paddlers who participated
  • 1,175 - Number of miles covered
  • 7 - Number of trail town mayors who hiked.
  • 34.3 - Miles hiked by Jason Taylor (Segment 6, Legs 1-8, from Devil's Garden to Elkin Rec Center).
  • 1 - Knee braces needed by Jason Taylor to finish his 34.3-mile day
  • 3 - Generations of Farthings that hiked Segment 3, Leg 2 (Ed, 70; son Brit, 44, and daughter in law Jenny, 45; and granddaughters Kora, 7, and Addy, 4.
  • 8:15 - Length of time it took Mark Rostan to run 30.9 miles from NC 181 to Beacon Heights on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Segment 4, Legs 6-10).
  • 28 - Miles paddled by  Bill Chatham, on the Yadkin River from Elkin Crater Park to Pilot Mountain State Park (Segment 6, Legs P1-P3).
Jennifer Pharr Davis experiences the 'fluidity' of the trail

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

You never realize how much it rains, until you spend all your time outside.

On the days it didn't rain, my feet were wet from a ford across the Linville River and an unsuccessful rock hop at Harper Creek: the recent precipitation has caused the streams of southern Appalachia to roar louder and ripple brighter: the impact of millions of raindrops joined together.

The storms have been challenging and it has made the experience more encompassing. Water seeps into my slightly pressed lips, pelts my rain jacket, and forms wrinkles on the tips of my fingers. I may not see many views, but I feel, hear and taste the trail more when it rains.

Hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail with my family in tow has been more demanding than a traditional thru-hike. Before I get out of the car in the morning, I nurse my son. As soon as I get picked up in the afternoon - often after 20 or more miles - I nurse again. Then I make sure everyone else is fed, I give my kids a bath, help my daughter brush her teeth, read books aloud and pray that my kids fall asleep. When they are quiet and still I take a shower, pack for the next day, and try to blog without falling asleep. Don't be fooled by the family pictures on Instagram. What we're doing isn't cute; it's hard - and important. ...

Continue reading here.

* * *

Follow Jen! Get the latest news from Jen about her journey in several ways: 
Meet Jen! 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.
Did you know you can hike the MST on the Outer Banks?
Hiking tip: Keep hiking the MST!

We've met one of our goals for MST in a Day - to have boots on every inch of the trail in one day. Now, it's time to focus on another goal: to keep hiking the trail!


While MST in a Day was timed to coincide with the day 40 years ago when the trail was proposed, it also happens to coincide with the start of the fall hiking season! Many of you described the weather on Saturday as "perfect" - that's what most days on the trail will be like for the next couple months.


Admit it: you hiked but a fraction of the trail on Saturday. Aren't you intrigued by what the rest of the trail is like? From its passage through the balsam fir forests in the mountains, to the rolling hardwood forests of the Piedmont, to the culturally engaging rambles through the coastal plain, the trail has so much more to give. (In a few days, you'll get a better sense of the entire trail when we get your photos posted on our Flickr page.)


And now that you've hiked a portion of the trail, you've become familiar with how to find your way on the MST. Our online trail guides give you detailed directions on where to find the trail and how to hang on to it once you do; we've even got day-hike suggestions for portions of the trail.


Saturday was a magic day on the trail. More await you in the days and weeks ahead.


                            Photo by Shelley Bainter.
Covet the MST in a Day shirt? You can still get one

Perhaps you were hiking Saturday, ran into someone sporting a spiffy gray MST in a Day T-shirt, and thought, "Ohhhh, one of the cool kids!"

Well, there's still time for you to be one of the cool kids. Friday is the deadline for ordering one of those "cool kids" Tees commemorating MST in a Day. You can buy the T-shirt alone for $20, or package it with a membership to the Friends of the MST for just $55! Not only will you look like a cool kid, you'll be part of the club, too!

Order your T-shirt (and membership) here.

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, the Colorful Palate, 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.