30 September 2010

Made it to Mount Mitchell yesterday! It's all downhill from here! Got rained on all last night. It cleared up today, though. Camping out by a creek tonight. Town in the morning. (Marion, NC)

28 September 2010

Rough day. Great weather. Left Black Mountain, feet sore all day. Got stung by a yellow jacket too. But making progress. Mount Mitchell tomorrow!

27 September 2010


The rain just does not want to stop. After breakfast, resupplying at the grocery store and laundry, Limbo took Sideshow and me back to the trail, near where we had left off yesterday evening. We hiked around the south-east side of Asheville, criss-crossing with the Blue Ridge Parkway all afternoon. It was 10 miles from where we started to Highway 70, which runs right into the town of Black Mountain.

The trail around Asheville is on pretty level terrain. We didn't have to climb even 100 feet all day. We didn't even carry backpacks, instead we brought enough water and snacks for the hike. And Limbo picked us up at the end of the hike. This is what thru-hikers call "slack-packing," in that we didn't carry our full packs, and we got to stay another night in a town, out of the elements (which I was very happy to do!). Luckily, we timed our hike just right, so that we didn't even hike in the rain, and then the rain started again when we got back to town this evening!

Sideshow is going to hike on with me until the weekend, so we should be able to reach Linville Gorge by that time. I'm excited for Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, and the rest of the mountains section of this hike!

26 September 2010

Rain, rain, rain

Sorry about the last few posts that didn't come through. Apparently when I go over a certain number of characters in a text message it doesn't post properly, so I'll keep that in mind for future reference.

I'm 8 days in, and I've traveled 124 miles on the trail. Today I woke up and got soaked on my way up to the Pisgah Inn, but when I sat down to my western omelette, I spotted an old friend from the Appalachian Trail, Sideshow. He was out for a weekend of camping with some friends. He had most of his gear with him, so he decided to join me to hike for a few days.

It rained nearly all day, and I got soaked. I didn't want to stop because I knew I would get cold as soon as I stopped moving. So I called up some more A.T. friends, Bird and Limbo, who live in Black Mountain. They agreed to come pick Sideshow and me up from south Asheville. I hiked about 24 miles today, and it was 21 for Sideshow. It was a long, long day, but we made good progress, and got to see some good friends.

After we got a ride up to Black Mountain, we went to Pisgah Brewing Company for some tasty brews, then on to My Father's Pizza, where I ate a delicious stromboli, and laughed hysterically about memories from the Appalachian Trail.

I've had a good trip, so far, and today was my longest day. I haven't seen a deer or bear yet. I have not seen many other hikers until this past weekend. And I'll keep my text message posts short and sweet from now on!
Soaking wet at the Pisgah Inn. Good breakfast! And I randomly ran into Sideshow, my buddy from the AT! Crazy coincidence!

21 September 2010

27 miles down!

Left camp at six, in the dark, made it down to Oconaluftee visitor center at the edge of the park. I have a long road walk ahead of me on the BRP. But I am lucky so far today. I paid 75 cents for a coke and got two cans from the vending machine!

20 September 2010

19 miles in two days, got to Newton Bald Camp real early. Hanging out above 5000 feet.

19 September 2010

17 September 2010

I took a training hike for my Mountains to Sea journey in Uwharrie National Forest. I hiked with on old school friend, and we did about 18 miles yesterday and today, including our failed shortcut attempt. I felt good, like I could do 20 miles over that terrain in a full day. Heading up to Clingmans Dome on Sunday!

12 September 2010


Checked out some MST sections this weekend in Orange and Durham counties along the Eno river and Falls Lake. Excited to get started!

07 September 2010

Mountains to Sea Trail

I've been thinking about hiking the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) since last year, when I was still thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I've not been motivated about much since I returned home from Maine last September, but all summer I've been looking forward to thru-hiking the MST.

The MST reaches 900+ miles from Clingmans Dome on the Tennessee/North Carolina border in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey's Ridge State Park near Nags Head on the Outer Banks. It climbs two state high-points, (Clingmans Dome in TN and Mount Mitchell in NC) and ends on Jockey's Ridge, the highest sand dune on the east coast.

While the Appalachian Trail is very much a social trail with a large community of hikers and trail-angels supporting the yearly parade of thru-hikers, the MST is still in its infancy. It was first proposed in the 1970s and the first thru-hike was in 1997. Today, fewer than 20 people have hiked the entire trail. This lack in popularity is mostly due to the fact that the actual footpath is still only 50% complete. Much of the current official route through the Piedmont and Coastal Plain is on state bicycle routes and back roads.

But it won't be like that forever. Trail construction is progressing steadily to link established footpaths together. On my journey, I plan to veer from the official route on back roads to use trails that have already been built but are not yet officially designated as part of the MST system.

I hope to raise awareness of the trail in the communities near it, so that they may help to protect the trail and help it to grow.

To learn more about the MST, visit the Friends of the MST website at: http://www.ncmst.org