Join us to kick off the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the MST with an expanded annual membership meeting in Elkin, a friendly trail town between Stone and Pilot Mountain state parks that has enthusiastically embraced the MST. Registration is now open! Plan to come Friday, March 24th and stay through Sunday, March 26th so you can enjoy all the festivities.
The central events of the weekend include the Hiking Boot Gala on Friday night and the Annual Membership Meeting on Saturday. Before and after the gala – Friday through Sunday – Elkin has organized a full-schedule of Trail and Town Excursions to help you enjoy the outdoors and learn more about this special part of North Carolina. The gala and meeting will be held in Coley Hall, at the Liberty, a restored tobacco warehouse and event space on Elkin’s Main Street.
Friday, March 24 – 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm
The Hiking Boot Gala is a celebration and conversation about the first 40 years of the MST hosted by WRAL’s Bill Leslie. The Gala includes dinner, music and plenty of conversation time to greet old trail friends and make new ones.
Saturday, March 25 – 10 am to 3 pm
The Annual Meeting will include reports on progress to build, maintain and promote the MST; keynote address by National Geographic 2012 Adventurer of the Year Jennifer Pharr Davis, who will be hiking the trail in 2017; “Envisioning the Next 40 Years” Session and response from key MST leadership; 2016 MST Completer’s Panel featuring highlights from their own hikes; and awards for hikers who have completed the trail and for outstanding volunteers. Registration opens at 9 am, with coffee and time to chat with other Friends.
Friday, March 24 at 11:30 am to Sunday, March 26 at 5:30 pm
Elkin Valley Trails Association is organizing a multitude of trail and town excursions. From long and short guided hikes around Elkin Valley to searching out favorite moonshine still sites in Stone Mountain State Park, from enjoying Yadkin Valley’s wines, ciders and beers to riding Elkin’s new mountain bike course on a fleet of REI’s finest bikes, come see what makes the MST, Elkin and the surrounding areas so special. Click here for the entire schedule of these great excursions.
The first 300 registrants will also receive a copy of the book “The Mountains-to-Sea Trail: Western North Carolina’s Majestic Rival to the Appalachian Trail,” written by Donald E. Dorsey and John L. Hillyer (father of EVTA’s Bob Hillyer.)
And if that didn’t entice you, event sponsor Farm to Feet will provide a free pair of “Elkin” socks from their new line of MST socks for every registrant.
Registration for the Gathering of Friends is $50, and includes the Hiking Boot Gala on Friday, March 24th and the Annual Meeting on Saturday, March 25th. You may choose to register for each event individually, at a rate of $30 per event. Up to 3 additional family members can attend for $20 per event. If you are not a member of the Friends and want to attend the Gathering, we welcome you to join with a tax-deductible gift of $35 that can be added to your registration fees.
Feel free to contact Betsy Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
RSVPs are required by Friday, March 17th.