Danny Bernstein finishes the MST
A year and a half ago I was hiking a lonely stretch of trail near Mount Sterling in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when I came upon three women crossing a log over Pretty Hollow Creek. I squinted and realized I knew one of them; in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was Danny Bernstein. Danny is the author of “Hiking the Carolina Mountains” and “Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Heritage,” runs the Hiker to Hiker Web site, writes the This Hiking Life blog and is pretty much all about hiking.
The November day our paths crossed, I was wrapping up reporting on “Backpacking North Carolina.” Danny was at the beginning of a large adventure: Hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
Well, my book came out in April, and on May 4 Danny finished her 985-mile hike of the MST, a trail-in-progress. (Ultimately, the trail will be about 1,000 miles, running from Clingman’s Dome to Jockey’s Ridge. Currently, about half of the trail is complete; the remainder is hiked on temporary routes utlizing nearby roads.) Danny became the 21st person to hike the entire MST.
Danny blogged about the experience as she went along. You can get a first-hand account of her journey at Hikertohiker.com. Here, though, are some highlights:
Stats: She covered 985 miles over 78 days with a total elevation gain of 95,200 feet.
Speed: Where the temporary route followed roads, she averaged 15 miles a day. (Her overall average, if you don’t have a calculator handy, was 12.6 miles per day.)
- Pretty Hollow Trail in the Smokies.
- Walking 25 miles of new trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway after it just opened.
- Great communities, among them Pilot Mountain and the Freeborne Motel on the Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 248, Glencoe Mill Village, Emily's Cookies outside of Burlington, New Bern, Buxton.
- Being interviewed by WRAL-TV in Raleigh.
- “Meeting people on the road.”
- Bald Knob in 95 degree heat last August
- Leaving my car in Stone Mountain State Park overnight and having the superintendent start a search
- Dogs on the road in the Piedmont
Again, you can get a first-hand account of Danny’s MST adventure by going to her This Hiking Life blog and clicking on “MST” under “Topics.”
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