Jennifer Pharr Davis Completes 1,200-Mile Journey to Support NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail

After three months and nearly 1,200 miles of hiking Jennifer Pharr Davis of Asheville has completed her modern day version of Johnny Appleseed, by planting seeds of support across the state for North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST).

Pharr Davis is a nationally known adventurer and long distance hiker who lives in Asheville. She timed her hike to coincide with the 40th anniversary of a speech that became the catalyst for creation of the MST, which goes from Clingmans Dome in western North Carolina to Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks.

“I’ve hiked 13,000 miles on six continents, but the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is the most diverse path I have ever experienced. Along the way, I have observed the changing topography, flora, and fauna, but most of all I have been struck by the distinct communities off trail and the variety of user groups on the trail,” said Pharr Davis, who is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and once held the record for fastest hike of the Appalachian Trail.

At various stops, she invited hundreds to hike with her to help spread the word about the importance of the MST and environmental conservation. Hikers joining her included Howard Lee, now in his eighties, who in 1977 first proposed the idea of trail from the mountains to the coast that would go through communities as well as unique natural areas. He was then NC Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development.

Others joining Pharr Davis along the trail included Kristin Cooper, North Carolina’s First Lady; students at NC A&T; Girl Scouts; Middle Schoolers in the Neighborhood Ecology Corps of Raleigh; people in a YMCA Diabetes Prevention Group in Pender County; members of the Green Team at White Oak High School in Onslow County; and Special Olympians of Dare County.

At times Pharr Davis was joined on the trail by her husband Brew and two young children Charley and Gus. She just made it to Jockey’s Ridge in time for a promised birthday party for Charley.

Almost 700 miles of the trail have been built and people like Jennifer can hike across the state using connecting backroads. Hundreds of volunteers of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail help to build and maintain the trail. The trail runs through 37 counties. Each year thousands of people use stretches of the trail for day hikes or overnight excursions. More than 80 people have hiked the entire route.

For additional information about MST:


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