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View Full Version : Extreme hiker puts Mountains-to-Sea Trail behind him - News & Observer



WhiteBlaze
09-29-2008, 01:40
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1236286.html

Lone Wolf
09-29-2008, 05:10
he averaged less than 8 miles per day. that's extreme? an extreme amount of days off probably.

ki0eh
09-29-2008, 08:43
"Extreme" might refer to hiking one of the "other" long trails. Few, apparently, dare... to be alone or possibly to navigate.

Taba
10-18-2008, 00:03
Hi Lone Wolf,
It's Taba! I am the one who hiked the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. So I guess that makes me the Extreme Hiker. It may not have been extreme to hike on the road in 120 degree heat index with notes from an 8 year old guidebook. Running out of water because the store that is listed has an auction sign in front. Not too mention the kidney stone that I had to pass because of dehydration that took me off the trail for 5 weeks. In the mountains I averaged 10 miles a day and the road walks I averaged 18. I did have to stop a lot to write all the information I got from the trail to write the guidebook. But I had a great time not being extreme.:-?

Scot "Taba" Ward
There And Back Again

Appalachian Trail 2003
Long Trail 2004
Colorado Trail 2007
Mountains to Sea Trail 2008

squirrel bait
10-18-2008, 00:35
I'm sorry I missed ya. I live very close to the eastern terminus of this trail. Not having any prior knowledge of your undertaking I applaud this effort. The eastern part of the trail, as you well found out, is road walks and not very well mapped. Camping on the beach may need to adopt a GSMNP type of permits. I can not think of a beach on the Mountains to Sea Trail that allows camping. I sure would like to hear of an update of this.

ed bell
10-18-2008, 00:36
Taba, Welcome to Whiteblaze:welcome. Great to see that you found our new Mountains to the Sea Forum here. We have included several other long trails in this area of Whiteblaze. Nice to have the first Mountains to the Sea thru-hiker post here. Congratulations on your hike!

fancyfeet
10-18-2008, 00:50
:welcome to WB! Sounds like an interesting trip. Downhill all the way, right? Let us know when your guidebook is done.

Taba
10-18-2008, 02:25
And Virginia is flat!

Taba
12-23-2008, 02:07
I hope everyone knows that I was in a joking mood when I replied that Virginia was flat. :datzAs a thru-hiker on the AT that is all you hear until you get there. Then everyone is looking for the flat parts. I haven't been much of a computer person but I am figuring it out along the way.

Squirrel Bait: Yes, it is illegal to camp on the beach. I was fortunate to find people who would bring me into their homes to avoid upcoming storms. I camped only twice. The first spot was near Frisco and the other was close to the Bodie Lighthouse.

Fancy Feet, Ed Bell: Thank you for the recognition of my hike this year and for welcoming me into this forum. It was a different kind of challenge than the AT. Since the completion of the MST I have been dilligently working on a thru-hikers manual for the trail and I will have it done by February.

I will be out there thru-hiking the MST again in 2009 to make sure all the information is correct in the book. I plan to update it every year.

Tipi Walter
12-23-2008, 08:44
Squirrel Bait: Yes, it is illegal to camp on the beach. I was fortunate to find people who would bring me into their homes to avoid upcoming storms. I camped only twice. The first spot was near Frisco and the other was close to the Bodie Lighthouse.

Just a question: What's the point of building a long distance trail with great portions of it off-limits to overnight camping?? I never could understand the motivation by trail workers to maintain and designate the MST and then have to make parts of it illegal to camp. I've done sections around Greensboro and I love what the guidebooks says: CAMPING: Hitch to interstate, find the nearest motel. Can anyone say stealth camping?

MOWGLI
12-23-2008, 08:58
Just a question: What's the point of building a long distance trail with great portions of it off-limits to overnight camping?? I never could understand the motivation by trail workers to maintain and designate the MST and then have to make parts of it illegal to camp. I've done sections around Greensboro and I love what the guidebooks says: CAMPING: Hitch to interstate, find the nearest motel. Can anyone say stealth camping?

Walter, when building a trail across a state like NC, you will inevitably cross some urban areas where finding camping will be difficult or impossible. The AT has it's Cumberland Valley in PA. Roughly 14 miles where there is no camping. But they had the power of the federal purse, and a vision that dated back to the early 1920s. The MST doesn't have either.

The MST is a great trail. And when it is done, in my opinion it will be one of the most significant long distance trails in the US. No need to denigrate it or compare it to other trails. It is unique. And in that uniqueness, lies its beauty.

PS: The Cumberland Valley was one of the most memorable parts of the AT for this hiker.

gsingjane
12-23-2008, 12:11
Here in CT, we have hundreds of miles of blue-blazed trails, but camping isn't permitted, well, pretty much anywhere. If a trail you're on happens to pass through a state park where camping is allowed already, then of course you can do it, but otherwise, except in very limited circumstances, it's stealth camping or not at all.

The thing is, it would seem to me that the highest percentage of users on almost any given trail aren't out overnight anyway. Day hikers are all over CT's blue-blazed system, and that's the way it should be! From time to time, I've thought, shucks, it sure would be fun to backpack on this or that trail, but given the exigencies of how they were set up and the kind of property they pass through, I guess I'm glad they have them at all. What is does mean, though, is that really only folks who live in the state, or very close by, will be doing much hiking on the system - nobody is going to drive 4 hours for a day hike. Maybe if we get our national designation for the "3M" trails, that might change, though!

Jane in CT

Taba
12-23-2008, 23:49
One of the reasons for the guidebook telling you to, hitch-hike, I believe is that the organization didn't want to cause any disstress with land owners because the trail was not gaining popularity when that version was written. They were still trying to acquire the land for the trail to be routed through. There will be a thru-hikers manual out in February that will give you more possibilities for camping. The churches that are listed in the Thru-hikers manual are good places to start for camping in long road stretches.

Once again the MST is still new and will be just as popular as the AT. How many times are you going to hike the same trail. I personally challenge any thru-hiker to take 3 months and attempt the elements this trail takes you through. The experience will be completely different than your hike on the AT. I promise you that, it will be just as or more rewarding then the summit of Katahdin. One of the biggest differences is that on the MST you will have only 4 shelters built for hikers along the entire 931 mile trail. The hike this year was challenging for camping locations but 2009 will have more up to date information and will be easier to navigate.

So to the people who are saying bad things about the MST. Please ease up and be patient. I understand your concerns and the problems will be fixed soon.

Panzer1
12-24-2008, 01:14
One of the biggest differences is that on the MST you will have only 4 shelters built for hikers along the entire 931 mile trail.

We have an anti-shelter group on this list that will think that's a good thing.

Panzer

Ramble~On
12-24-2008, 04:28
Congratulations on your hike !

Very few people have thru hiked this trail. Allan de Hart and Alan Householder hiked it back in 1997 and like you they were gathering material for a book.
~ I look forward to your book and if my job will grant me a LOA I'd love to hike it.
An updated guide would be excellent and hopefully will attract more people and attention to this trail.

Allan de Hart turned 82 in September. He founded Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail and has authored many hiking books including "Hiking North Carolina's Mountains to Sea Trail"

He might be a really good person for you to contact about your book, if you haven't already.

Dogwood
12-24-2008, 04:39
Congrats on competing your hike Taba. I'm sure the MST Trail will be better with your input. As I understand your post, U camped only twice on the beach? Is that correct?

WalkingStick75
12-24-2008, 10:22
Taba congratulations on your hike, I for one am jealous!

WalkingStick75
12-24-2008, 10:26
he averaged less than 8 miles per day. that's extreme? an extreme amount of days off probably.

LW in the spirit of Christmas give credit where credit is due, he hiked the hike. Have you? I'm sure he did not name himself "extreme" that was some journalist even though I would still place him in the "extreme" category myself.

MOWGLI
12-24-2008, 10:43
One of the great things about hiking is... you don't need anyone's approval regarding your hike. I follow the motto - "to thine own self be true." That means, I hike where I wanna hike - when I wanna hike. As long as my wife is on board - that is. :o She's a keeper, so I do what I have to do to "keeper" happy.

Lone Wolf
12-24-2008, 10:55
LW in the spirit of Christmas give credit where credit is due, he hiked the hike. Have you? I'm sure he did not name himself "extreme" that was some journalist even though I would still place him in the "extreme" category myself.

in the spirit of x-mas i posted that 3 months ago. and still feel the same. yes i've walked many a walks

Tilly
12-24-2008, 10:55
What a service you are doing for this trail and future hikers! Great job & thanks!
PS--Are you putting the guide book out after your 2009 hike? What kind of maps did you use? Did you use a GPS or a compass or both?

Taba
12-25-2008, 23:38
What a service you are doing for this trail and future hikers! Great job & thanks!
PS--Are you putting the guide book out after your 2009 hike? What kind of maps did you use? Did you use a GPS or a compass or both?

I am actually waiting until the FMST annual meeting in February of 2009 to release the book. Then I will hike the MST again starting around May 17th or so. As far as the maps go, I didn't have any trail maps. I only carried a Blue Ridge Parkway road map and a NC state highway map to see where the towns were. I also did not have a GPS unit or a compass. I know this sounds somewhat strange but I wanted to hike this trail with minimal information so I would have to look for everything I needed and sometimes ask people for directions.

Gladiator
12-25-2008, 23:55
Can I expect to find any MST maps online? If so, where?

Taba
12-27-2008, 11:26
Congrats on competing your hike Taba. I'm sure the MST Trail will be better with your input. As I understand your post, U camped only twice on the beach? Is that correct?

Yes that is correct. I was fortunate out there and many of the locals brought me into their homes to avoid the incoming tropical storms. There are several camping locations to go to and I made a note of most if not all of them.

Taba
12-27-2008, 21:53
Can I expect to find any MST maps online? If so, where?

I would try the FMST website first for maps.

Krewzer
12-29-2008, 10:20
Just a question: What's the point of building a long distance trail with great portions of it off-limits to overnight camping?? I never could understand the motivation by trail workers to maintain and designate the MST and then have to make parts of it illegal to camp. I've done sections around Greensboro and I love what the guidebooks says: CAMPING: Hitch to interstate, find the nearest motel. Can anyone say stealth camping?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0X0aqx3UHI
Just a clarification about camping on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Yes, over night camping "directly on the beaches" of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands is not allowed. But, there are several well placed and very nice NPS campgrounds designated for hikers and tourists alike just behind the dunes. There is easy access if want to hang on the beach all night long and that's fine with the park service. (If you're lucky you just might get to see a giant sea turtle laying her eggs in the sand.)

This isn't much different from many other National Parks that have made certain areas off limits to particular activities. It's a Park service call and I've got to agree with them on this one. This place would be a mad house if all the tourists started setting up camps on the beaches out here.

Hiking is unique and special out here. I can't imagine you not having, at the very least, one mile of beach all to yourself on the MST.

(Yea I know, there ain't no palm trees out here, but it was the only thing I could find on YouTube.)

sherrill
12-29-2008, 11:07
If you had swam from Cedar Island to Ocracoke, now that would have been extreme! :D

Congrats on your hike.

Taba
01-10-2009, 23:04
If you had swam from Cedar Island to Ocracoke, now that would have been extreme! :D

Congrats on your hike.

Actually I was late for the ferry so I tryed to jump out to it and only grabbed a small rope dangling from the side and I barefoot waterskiied behind the ferry all the way to Ocracoke.

Crazy Larry #1
01-11-2009, 00:35
You were here in Damascus earlier last year were you not Taba?

Taba
01-11-2009, 05:06
You were here in Damascus earlier last year were you not Taba?

Yeah! I think I was the last one to stumble out of town. I wasn't on the Appalachian Trail schedule then. I try not to miss seeing my friends at Trail Days. Last year was the 5 year anniversary of my 2003 AT thru-hike. We had a pizza party at Sicily's with about 100 hikers from that year. I might have to miss it this year though. It is my Mom's 60th birthday. I may still be able to make Damascus by Saturday night. I am going to hike the MST again right after Trail Days. That is definite, Trail Days is a maybe right now.

Sly
01-11-2009, 07:26
Kudos on the completion. What was that board in the photos? Also, seems like a fall hike would make better sense weather wise.

Taba
01-11-2009, 08:12
Kudos on the completion. What was that board in the photos? Also, seems like a fall hike would make better sense weather wise.

Thank you. That was a body board I found along the roadside just past Buxton. I carried it for 3 days on my backpack then I picked up my bicycle in Nags Head and rode down to Hatteras with it on my trailer. I used it a few times along the way. I am a Florida boy so I almost enjoy the heat, more so than I do the cold, but yes I will agree with you that the middle of summer makes it a lot more challenging. I think that hottest day I had the heat index reached near 120 degrees. I usually walk a couple of hours in the late morning the between 12:00 and 4:00 I would try to find a cool place to sit and relax. It was good because I got to make friends with a lot of people in the small stores I found.

Sly
01-11-2009, 10:16
Thanks.

I've hike the trail that shares the CMC elevation map from Beech gap to Black Mountain campground and some near Linville Gorge and Stone Mountain. I thought if I ever did the whole thing some of it would be on bike and canoe.

I'll be interested in getting your guidebook. I have Allen's

Crazy Larry #1
01-11-2009, 12:53
Yeah! I think I was the last one to stumble out of town. I wasn't on the Appalachian Trail schedule then. I try not to miss seeing my friends at Trail Days. Last year was the 5 year anniversary of my 2003 AT thru-hike. We had a pizza party at Sicily's with about 100 hikers from that year. I might have to miss it this year though. It is my Mom's 60th birthday. I may still be able to make Damascus by Saturday night. I am going to hike the MST again right after Trail Days. That is definite, Trail Days is a maybe right now.
I think we met, but please do stop by and see me if you come to town....

Taba
01-12-2009, 21:15
I think we met, but please do stop by and see me if you come to town....

Is your house the one with the phone on the porch for hikers? We do know each other and I will come by when I get into town.

Taba

boarstone
01-12-2009, 21:24
....I'm SOOOO jealous! I don't know how you folks do it...oh yeah..as LW would say, it's just walking...even so, it's a lot, I commend you on your abilities and success.:banana

Welcome to Whiteblaze:welcome

Taba
01-12-2009, 21:34
Thanks.

I've hike the trail that shares the CMC elevation map from Beech gap to Black Mountain campground and some near Linville Gorge and Stone Mountain. I thought if I ever did the whole thing some of it would be on bike and canoe.

I'll be interested in getting your guidebook. I have Allen's

Those are excellent places to spend time. I enjoyed the river fording in the gorge and the mountian views in those areas. My guidebook is different than Allen's. His explains the beauty of the trail and he does an excellent job in describing what you are going to see, hear and smell. Mine is just the basic information with a quick reference guide for long distance hikers. I have created a compact version kind of like a data book. I allowed one hiker use a few pages so he could do a week long hike around Christmas time. When he got done he sent me an email saying that the guidebook helped out a lot on his hike. I liked hearing that because that is my intent with writing this book. I want to help people have a positive experience while hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

I will be releasing the book in February of 2009. Around that time just send an email and we can get you one. I will be hiking the MST again in 2009 starting around May 21st or so. If you are out there and want to hike a little together let me know that too. I always enjoy company.

SmokyMtn Hiker
01-12-2009, 22:02
Congrats on your completion of the MST and being a western North Carolina resident I'll be looking foward to the guidebook. A good portion of the trail passes through the county and adjacent counties where I live and have spent some time dayhiking sections of the trail. Linville Gorge, Harpers Creek area and the Tanawha Trail just to name a few.

Taba
01-17-2009, 20:16
Congrats on your completion of the MST and being a western North Carolina resident I'll be looking foward to the guidebook. A good portion of the trail passes through the county and adjacent counties where I live and have spent some time dayhiking sections of the trail. Linville Gorge, Harpers Creek area and the Tanawha Trail just to name a few.

The Tanawha Trail used to be the Grandfather Mountain Trail, right?

Taba
01-20-2009, 17:43
Good news!:banana I just sent my work off to the publisher. I should hear back from them soon. The books are making progress.

Taba

Taba
01-25-2009, 02:17
I have the "Thru-Hikers Manual for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail of North Carolina" ready for print. I will be self-publishing it. The publisher I sent it to said that would be the best way to go. I will be presenting the guidebook to the FMST on February 7th. It will then be available for purchase after that. If you want a copy, e-mail me at Thru_hiker@msn.com or call 561-319-2564 and I will give you the information on how to get one. Thank you to everybody for the support and the encouragement to finish this project.

Scot "Taba" Ward

http://trailplace.com/forums/images/misc/progress.gif

Taba
03-31-2009, 22:07
Just wanted to update this post on how to get a copy of "The Thru-Hiker's Manual for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail of North Carolina." I am asking for $20.00 a copy and you can send a check or money order to:

Scot Ward
PO Box 55536
Lexington, KY 40555-5536

Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery.

Thanks again for all of the support. I look forward to seeing evrybody out there. Check out the "100 Hiker Challenge." Let's get 100 hikers to do 1 week or 100 miles of the MST this year. Let me know if you plan on doing this.

Thank you,
Scot "Taba" Ward

Dr O
05-14-2009, 09:33
Taba,
Congratulations! That's great. You said you'd do it.
Why the boogie board though?

http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=25448&c=member&orderby=title&direction=ASC&imageuser=17325&cutoffdate=-1

Beachwhacking! :D

sloopjonboswell
05-15-2009, 02:46
party in winston salem memorial day!

modiyooch
05-15-2009, 08:11
he averaged less than 8 miles per day. that's extreme? an extreme amount of days off probably.why the attitude? sounds like wd mentality. congrats taba.

Taba
05-20-2009, 17:00
Thank you modiyooch! The boogie board was a road score and I carried it for 3 days at the end of the trail. Once I picked up the board a lot of the waves from people turned into the hang loose, thumb and pinky wave. I fit in on the outer banks a little more with it.

Taba

P.S. I am hiking the MST again right now to update the manual that is out already and will be turning around at Jockey's Ridge to hike back to Clingman's Dome to write the Manual for the other direction.

Taba
08-14-2009, 14:48
Extreme Hiker does it again!!!

Taba

hikingtime
08-14-2009, 15:44
I have the "Thru-Hikers Manual for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail of North Carolina" ready for print. I will be self-publishing it. The publisher I sent it to said that would be the best way to go. I will be presenting the guidebook to the FMST on February 7th. It will then be available for purchase after that.


How about making it an e-book?
You would save trees, get it out to people quicker, and lower the price you charge while making a greater profit.

dradius
08-14-2009, 16:28
personally i would rather have a real book than an ebook, especially when it comes to a trail guide.

congrats on yet another thru hike. you're extreme and professional in my book, no matter what some old grumpy ass washed up old man says.

Taba
08-14-2009, 16:29
That is a good idea. I will think about doing that but for now I am going with what I can do. It is hard to do any more than what I am doing while I am hiking. thank you for the idea.

Taba