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View Full Version : Why I liked hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail



Taba
01-19-2009, 02:28
I am an experienced hiker and I go for the personal challenge. I like to do the things that most people wouldn't attempt themselves. Not because I am a daredevil or uneducated about what I do. I do not want fear to rule any aspect of my life. So I am comfortable when the future is uncertain. When I hiked the MST a few months back nearly every day I woke up I thought, what's going to happen, what am I going to see and where will I end up? It doesn't matter really, but the questions can sometimes become stress. When situations get stressful your decision making can be hindered. Unlike the Appalachian Trail it is not real well traveled yet. The MST has only 4 shelters and a lot of people still don't know it goes through their town. It is still a new trail and is gaining popularity quickly. When I finished the AT, I was on Katahdin with a joyful tear in my eye and a question in my brain. That question was, "What's next?" The Mountains-to-Sea Trail crosses North Carolina. It starts on the summit of Clingman's Dome, the highest mountain on the Appalachian Trail, and ends at Jockey's Ridge State Park on top of the dunes. I grew up in Florida on the beach and in 2003 I knew the AT as home. So I felt like I was walking from one home to my other one. I liked climbing over Mt. Mitchell, the highest east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 ft. I also enjoyed the views from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The wildlife in the BRP was amazing. I saw a couple of bears, a lot of deer and played with some turkeys, turtles, snakes, and frogs. There is roughly 400 miles of beautiful country road walk in the middle part of the state that meanders through a few state parks and along several lakesides. Part of my experience on the MST was the social encounters in the towns. There were so many people who would drive up and offer a ride. I declined every time because I was measuring every step and I don't cheat. I was invited into so many homes to join people for dinner or to clean up and take a break. I think I was adopted into a few families along the way. Most everybody in North Carolina have great attitudes. The trail continues through cotton, soybean, and tobacco farms, once you come out of the Piedmonts, with some cattle farms in there, too. It travels through marshlands and swamps. The trail organization that maintains these sections do a wonderful job with the boardwalks and the 2 shelters. There are 3 ferries that get you from the mainland to the Outer Banks. I started feeling like I was accomplishing something when I watched Cedar Island fade away into the horizon. From here on it is mostly a beach walk with some short cuts through the sand dunes and woods. The lighthouses seem ominous, looming over the islands. The locals here have the laid back beach life going on. There are a lot of surfers. I met some of the greatest people on the island. In fact after I finished the hike I went back to hang out with some of them for a few more weeks. I had no idea what my emotions were going to be when I climbed to the summit of Jockey's Ridge. I have finished hikes before, where I just took a picture and left. At the end of the MST I had a sense of accomplishment that I had when I finished the AT but better. It is a feeling that you can only get by finishing something as physically and mentally challenging as the long distance trails we set out to hike. The MST I predict will become a close relative of the AT. I believe that the towns will realize the potential of the trail and will welcome hikers just like the trail towns along the AT and with the FMST working hard to continue the building process the trail will only get better with time. It took the AT 40 years to become popular.

If you have already hiked the AT or you want to but you don't have that much time, I encourage you to check out the Mountains to Sea Trail in North Carolina. I was the only one to complete it in 2008 becoming the 13th on the list of finishers. I have heard about 20 people say that they want to attempt it in 2009. I have created a thru-hikers manual for the MST to help with navigation and finding the resources you need including all the All-You-Can-Eat buffets I could find. It will be available for this years hiking season.

If you are interested in the MST and have questions, ask me and I will do my best to try and answer them.

Dogwood
01-19-2009, 02:32
Good stuff Taba. Thanx for sharing that.

theinfamousj
01-19-2009, 02:35
I thought it wasn't finished. I've been waiting to attempt it until the Raleigh piece got filled in. I helped build some of the near-Raleigh pieces when I was in high school.

Woo hoo, let the plotting and planning begin!

Crazy Larry #1
01-19-2009, 08:30
Perhaps you ought to get together with attroll here and see about having that published here on WB. That was an enjoyable read.

Spiderman-MST
01-19-2009, 09:34
We are building MST trail from NC-50 all the way to Durham and have 20 more miles to build - come on out and help us if you can.

Check us out at www.ncmst.org (http://www.ncmst.org)


I thought it wasn't finished. I've been waiting to attempt it until the Raleigh piece got filled in. I helped build some of the near-Raleigh pieces when I was in high school.

Woo hoo, let the plotting and planning begin!

Smile
01-19-2009, 22:56
Awesome tale, would like to read more about it! :)

Taba
01-20-2009, 00:12
Awesome tale, would like to read more about it! :)

I am working on turning my journal into a book but have to finish writing a guidebook first. They should both be out soon. I had a lot of fun writing this journal.

Marta
01-20-2009, 07:01
Looking forward to reading it.

Taba
01-20-2009, 17:39
Looking forward to reading it.

Good news! :banana I just sent my work off to the publisher. I should hear back from them soon.

Taba

Young Scott
01-26-2009, 14:37
Thank you for sharing. I'd like to see your journal.

Tipi Walter
01-26-2009, 14:52
So, what's your next quest?

Taba
01-26-2009, 16:32
So, what's your next quest?

I am going to hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail again this year and I am thinking about hiking another shorter trail just before I go back to the MST as kind of a warm-up. The trail I am thinking about is a little less than 300 miles. About the same distance of the Long Trail in Vermont.

Tipi Walter
01-26-2009, 18:54
I am going to hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail again this year and I am thinking about hiking another shorter trail just before I go back to the MST as kind of a warm-up. The trail I am thinking about is a little less than 300 miles. About the same distance of the Long Trail in Vermont.

I can see doing the thing again, heck, I'd probably set up camp in the Harpers Creek/Upper Creek area and never leave. Why would you want to do it again? Even the piedmont road sections? I mean, what would you do differently? BTW, is it me or is TJs down again??

Taba
01-27-2009, 02:38
I have been traveling for 20 years. I haven't been in the same location for more than 3-4 months in years. I have learned a lot through trial and error. When I found the MST and saw the potential for this trail, I felt like my experience could add a little to the growth and development of this trail. I am going to rehike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to ensure that my information in the guidebook is correct and to help educate the people around about the journey that many will attempt and that they will get used to seeing hikers. Maybe get them involved with enjoying the trail themselves. It is a wonderful challenge. I will retrace and measure every step of the way again. I want to see if I made it easier for myself and for others to navigate the trail with speed and efficency. I kind of made the journey tougher on myself than it ought to have been last year because if I always needed something than somebody else who is following the guidebook might need that very same thing. So by my depriving myself of these things I would always be looking for them. By doing this I think I have managed to find every resource possible along the route. One other reason I want to hike the MST again is because it is a new trail and is changing constantly. So I already know that some of the information needs to be updated. I might end up hiking it every year to update the guidebook until the trail is finished and everybody knows that long distance trails are never finished. I would enjoy watching the MST develope. I truly believe that this could be a close relative of the Appalachian Trail. The towns will have festivals for the thru-hikers when they come through. At least that is my prediction and vision.

Scot "Taba" Ward

ki0eh
01-27-2009, 08:48
I am going to hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail again this year and I am thinking about hiking another shorter trail just before I go back to the MST as kind of a warm-up. The trail I am thinking about is a little less than 300 miles. About the same distance of the Long Trail in Vermont.

You could do another MST - PA's Mid State Trail http://www.hike-mst.org/

Roots
01-27-2009, 09:23
I have been traveling for 20 years. I haven't been in the same location for more than 3-4 months in years. I have learned a lot through trial and error. When I found the MST and saw the potential for this trail, I felt like my experience could add a little to the growth and development of this trail. I am going to rehike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to ensure that my information in the guidebook is correct and to help educate the people around about the journey that many will attempt and that they will get used to seeing hikers. Maybe get them involved with enjoying the trail themselves. It is a wonderful challenge. I will retrace and measure every step of the way again. I want to see if I made it easier for myself and for others to navigate the trail with speed and efficency. I kind of made the journey tougher on myself than it ought to have been last year because if I always needed something than somebody else who is following the guidebook might need that very same thing. So by my depriving myself of these things I would always be looking for them. By doing this I think I have managed to find every resource possible along the route. One other reason I want to hike the MST again is because it is a new trail and is changing constantly. So I already know that some of the information needs to be updated. I might end up hiking it every year to update the guidebook until the trail is finished and everybody knows that long distance trails are never finished. I would enjoy watching the MST develope. I truly believe that this could be a close relative of the Appalachian Trail. The towns will have festivals for the thru-hikers when they come through. At least that is my prediction and vision.

Scot "Taba" Ward

This is great! This is a trail that I have always found interesting. Thanks for your work. I'll definitely be looking forward to getting a copy of your book.

The Solemates
01-27-2009, 10:02
You could do another MST - PA's Mid State Trail http://www.hike-mst.org/

we're on the 6-8 year plan of doing this trail. we do about 50 miles every year on our annual thanksgiving hike when we go see family.

Taba
01-27-2009, 23:06
You could do another MST - PA's Mid State Trail http://www.hike-mst.org/

That is another idea. I may end up out there someday. I have been looking around for more challenges. This year I am commited to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. I have started something and I want to see the end result. Just as a thru-hiker wanting to see Katahdin. I have seen all of the MST but now I want to have fun on it and I want to test out my guidebook.

Scot "Taba" Ward

Taba
04-28-2009, 17:45
I wanted to bring this to this story to the top of the page again because it describes the journey with honesty and devotion to adventure. I want people to know how wonderful the hike on the MST really is. I had an amazing time and would love to see others share in the experience. I hope to see more people out there and would enjoy hiking with everybody who would like to join me this year.

Taba

OldStormcrow
04-29-2009, 09:45
I've been waiting on the completion of the Palmetto Trail here in SC. It sounds like about the same concept as the Mountains to the Sea Trail. I've been on the sections in the upstate, but am not looking forward to road hiking through downtown Spartanburg and Columbia.

Worldwide
04-29-2009, 11:08
I hope your MST guidebook will include paragraph breaks.

Taba
04-29-2009, 13:40
I've been waiting on the completion of the Palmetto Trail here in SC. It sounds like about the same concept as the Mountains to the Sea Trail. I've been on the sections in the upstate, but am not looking forward to road hiking through downtown Spartanburg and Columbia.

The MST does a really good job of keeping you away major cities like those. Unless, you wanted to hitch-hike into the cities for the experience of that town or to resupply, you don't need to see any cities with high rise buildings and backed up traffic. It does take you through some of the smaller towns along the way, which I rather enjoyed.

Taba

Taba
04-29-2009, 13:43
I hope your MST guidebook will include paragraph breaks.

Since my Manual was written for the hikers who want faster planning and easier navigation, there are no paragraphs.

Taba

Reid
04-29-2009, 14:03
The palmetto trail passes near our summer house in Union, I would not hike the palmetto trail for many many years until it's mostly trail, which it isn't right now!! And there's no way in hell I would camp anywhere near blackstock in Union with a few hundred dead british and patriot soldiers still buried out there. That's one creepy place!

OldStormcrow
04-29-2009, 16:34
The palmetto trail passes near our summer house in Union, I would not hike the palmetto trail for many many years until it's mostly trail, which it isn't right now!! And there's no way in hell I would camp anywhere near blackstock in Union with a few hundred dead british and patriot soldiers still buried out there. That's one creepy place!
You never know....some of those old soldiers' ghosts could be old friends of mine! That would be a high point of the hike!

Two Tents
04-29-2009, 16:57
Happy,Happy,Joy,Joy another trail to plan for! I can't wait for both books. Let us know when and where. Happy Trails---Two Tents.

Reid
04-29-2009, 22:34
It's all yours Crow! I'd like to tell a little ghost story that may surprise some people. And I'll say sorry up front for drifting the thread, I'll try and make it short though! I was headed out to check some gear mid summer last year and I noticed that there was a fog coming up on me (this is odd as it is summer and just about to get dark when there shouldn't be any fog) I called up my other buddy and his GF who just came along....as I remember they just tagged along and were drinking beers out there or something. Anyway. As we were leaving out of absolute no where a man on a horse, all black horse......all black rider, stepped out into the road and was right at the window when we passed. We all yelled and I stepped on it. It happened in an instant. Funny thing is, is that I mananged to make a wrong turn out there and ended up at the end of some old abondoned road where there was a church sitting there. My freinds GF said shes feeling ill on her stomach and is noticably having a hard time keeping calm. We got back out on the blacktop. Here's the funny thing, I went back out there a few weeks later and just happened to go see what's down that road. NOTHING!!! A dead end with a huge stone marker that says......the church was burned to the ground by a cult in the late 1800's. How many people can say they've seen a ghost CHRUCH??