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May 2012
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Diane crosses Little Lick Creek at Falls Lake. Photo by Halle Amick.

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail has tested the mettle of world-class ultrarunner Diane Van Deren as she has sought to break Matt Kirk's 24-day record for completing the trail and raise $40,000 to support the MST. 


Pea soup fog enveloped her as she neared Mt. Mitchell, and then four inches of rain swelled the rivers and creeks in Linville Gorge and Wilson Creek, forcing crossings that were often waist-deep. After seven days of wet weather, she left the mountains behind schedule and with feet covered in blisters. The skies cleared, and she has pressed on - 30 to 60 miles per day - through the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, accompanied by a hardy, cheerful team of guide runners from all over North Carolina and a support crew from Great Outdoor Provision Co.


As I send this e-mail, Diane has completed the Neusiok Trail and is heading toward Cedar Island to catch the ferry to Ocracoke just as tropical storm Beryl arrives in North Carolina. She'll face strong winds, crashing surf and rain as she heads up the Outer Banks.


To capture a spirit of the expedition, read Joe Miller's daily blog and the twitter feed which is filled with photos documenting each day's adventures (you do not need a twitter account to see the photos).


As Diane nears the end of her expedition at Jockey's Ridge, we invite you to make a gift to help her reach her second goal - raising $40,000 for the trail. How will your money be used? Read Joe Miller's eloquent blog about the value of your gift and how FMST will put it to good use.


You can make a gift in three ways:


Volunteers build trail with help from RTP
FMST volunteers build a bridge. Photo by Randy Johnson.


VOLUNTEER to build and maintain the trail near Waynesville, on the Haw River in Alamance County, or on the Eno River or at Falls Lake in the Triangle. For more information, check out the MST calendar for these and other events.


SHOP at any Great Outdoor Provision Co. store on June 2nd, and 10% of what you spend will be donated to FMST. We'll use the money to make grants to North Carolina land trusts to acquire new land and easements where we can build the MST.



Hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
Hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Video by Joe Miller.

Check out the new maps and trail descriptions for 88 miles of the MST from Beacon Heights (near Grandfather Mountain) to Devil's Garden (near Stone Mountain State Park). They are written as a series of 14 day-hikes which can be combined for a longer trip.


The descriptions were developed by outdoor writer Joe Miller thanks to a grant to FMST from North Carolina's Adopt-A-Trail Program.


Please share your opinions about these trail descriptions - what you like and what to improve - so FMST can continue to make our information about hiking the trail better. If you have examples of maps and trail descriptions you've liked for other trails, please share those with us too. FMST's board is developing a comprehensive plan for what materials to develop, and we want to know what you find helpful. Please e-mail Kate Dixon, FMST Executive Director, at [email protected] to share your ideas.




Falls Lake Volunteer Leader Jeff Brewer talks to Durham Commissioner Ellen Reckhow. Photo by Will Farmer

Although hikers have been steadily exploring the MST at Falls Lake as volunteers have added miles of new trail in recent years, the last action to make the trail official was a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the trail as MST and thank the volunteers, land managers, and funders for making it possible. After the brief ceremony, volunteers and dignataries headed down to admire the bridge over Little Lick Creek - the final link in the 60-mile trail section.


Many discussions were held about what FMST should do about a flooded stretch of trail just west of the bridge. Falls Lake has been unusally high this spring which has left this stretch under two to three feet of water for several months. As funds become available, FMST will extend the boardwalk to provide dry footing throughout the year.



Show your love of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail by being one of the first 300 people to buy a speciality MST license plate 

MST License Plate


Why buy an MST plate now?

  1. It's a fun way to show your love of hiking and the MST
  2. It's a great way to provide financial support for the MST - $20 of the $30 annual cost will be returned to FMST to build, protect and promote the trail
  3. Your plate will have a low number which willl identify you as one of the early supporters of the MST.
  4. If you want a personalized plate, most options are still available if you order now.

How can you order your plate? Fill out the application form and mail it with your check to FMST today.


When FMST has pre-sold 300 plates, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles will produce the plates and mail them to everyone who has pre-ordered. To date, we have sold 165 plates. Just 135 to go!


Please act now.The NC General Assembly has given us only a short time to sell the first 300 plates before the authorization for the plate expires. Now is your chance to have an MST plate.


Questions? Please contact Kate Dixon, FMST Executive Director, at 919-698-9024 or [email protected].


Financial donations make this trail possible. You can join online or print and mail your membership form.
Your donation will leave a legacy for future generations. 

Thanks for your support of the trail!

Contact Info
Kate Dixon
Executive Director
Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail