Mountains-to-Sea Trail hike to cut through Bladen County

Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is recruiting hundreds of North Carolinians to collaborate on Saturday, Sept. 9, to hike the entire 1,175 miles of the MST in one day. We hope to have someone on each leg of each trail segment on the same day.

A segment of the trail, Segment 13B – Carolina Bay Country, runs 39 miles in Bladen County from the entrance of Suggs Mill Pond Game Land to Singletary Lake State Park.

The MST in a Day event will commemorate a speech on Sept. 9, 1977, by Howard Lee, then N.C. Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development. He told a National Trails Symposium in Waynesville that North Carolina should create a “state trail from the mountains to the coast, leading through communities as well as natural areas.”

That speech was the catalyst for a trail that now stretches through 36 counties from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. Almost 700 miles are built and people use connecting back roads to hike across the entire state. There is also a paddling option along the Neuse River in eastern North Carolina.

For this MST In A Day event our segment of the trail will be broken up into 10 legs. The average hike for MST in a Day participants will be 3 to 5 miles (which typically takes 1 to 2 hours of walking). You may hike one or more legs anytime between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9.

To register for hiking a leg of the trail go to or contact Carl deAndrade via email at or phone/text at 910-876-1312. The goal is to have up to five people on each leg.

The MST runs right through the town of White Lake and the official sponsor for this Segment of the MST In A Day is White Lake Marine.

Lee was one of the first to sign up for MST in Day. He will hike at Jones Lake State Park in Bladen County with Tom Earnhardt, host of WUNC-TV’s “Exploring North Carolina.” Asheville resident Jennifer Pharr Davis, a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, will be hiking the trail starting in August and will be summiting Mount Mitchell on Sept. 9.

“This event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for North Carolina families, friends and outdoor enthusiasts to unite behind helping the MST reach its full potential as one of the world’s great trails,” said Lee.

Counties touched by the MST include Swain, Jackson, Haywood, Transylvania, Buncombe, Henderson, McDowell, Yancey, Mitchell, Burke, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Wilkes, Alleghany, Surry, Stokes, Forsyth, Guilford, Alamance, Orange, Durham, Wake, Johnston, Wayne, Lenoir, Craven, Sampson, Cumberland, Bladen, Pender, Onslow, Carteret, Hyde and Dare.

Hikers urged to trek a leg Sept. 9