Join us for the 2023
Gathering of Friends
April 28 – 30, 2023
Durham, Hillsborough & Surrounding Areas
Welcome to the 2023 Gathering of Friends! We are thrilled to bring our annual meeting to the Triangle and excited for you to explore what Durham, Orange and Wake counties have to offer.
Friday will kick off with a full day of guided hikes for everyone and kiosk building for our Task Force Leaders, followed by excursions, meetings and celebrations through Sunday. We are excited to partner with the Department of Recreation and Wellness at North Carolina Central University for hosting this year’s meeting.
Hikes, excursions and trail workdays will spread across Durham, Orange and Wake counties. The Department of Recreation and Wellness at NCCU will host our annual meeting on Saturday, where Friends of the MST’s membership gathers together to learn about the trail, spend time with each other, and celebrate our very special trail community. While this is a membership-based event, all with an interest in the MST are welcome to join and attend.
Make your reservations now to stay at one of the several hotels we reserved or feel free to find your own in the area.
Friday, April 28th
Three guided hikes in the morning to explore the Eno River, Falls Lake, Falls Lake Dam, Penny’s Bend and Blue Jay Point; a kiosk building workday for our Task Force Leaders; lunch on your own followed by a historic guided hike in Hillsborough featuring Friends’ board member Beverly Scarlett; Welcome Reception Dinner beginning at 5 PM at Mystic Farm and Distillery in Durham to celebrate our volunteers, maintainers and completers.
Saturday, April 29th
Annual meeting for Friends of the MST hosted by our partner, the Department of Recreation and Wellness of NCCU, will be held on-campus in the Student Center, 500 Nelson Street, Durham; guest speakers will provide updates on: the trail, volunteer opportunities, Year of the Trail, increasing diversity on the MST and so much more, followed by a group hike in historic Hillsborough along the Eno River; and wrapping up with dinner on your own in Hillsborough, group outing to the Durham Bulls baseball game or enjoying time with fellow members in downtown Durham. Check-in begins at 8 AM, and the meeting starts at 9.
Sunday, April 30th
Two guided hikes in the morning: Cox Mountain/ Fanny’s Ford and a vigorous and challenging 9-mile bushwhack hike along the Eno River; and a trail workday at Falls Lake.
We’ve polled our local Friends and compiled our 10 favorite hikes in the Triangle. Find those self-guided hikes here. Join and use our Facebook Group to connect with others attending the Gathering who may want to join you on one of these self-guided treks.
Registration for the Gathering of Friends, including the Welcome Dinner and Reception on Friday, the Annual Meeting on Saturday is $80. Lunch is included on Saturday, but breakfast is on your own. You may register for each event individually, at a rate of $40 for the Friday Welcome Dinner and Reception, $50 for the Saturday Annual Meeting and $18 for a ticket to Saturday night’s Durham Bulls game. Up to 3 additional guests may attend for $70 each for the entire event. The Gathering is our yearly membership event. We welcome anyone to attend, and if you are not yet a member of Friends, you’ll see non-member pricing that includes a yearly membership.
If you’re a baseball fan, make sure to join us Saturday night as the Durham Bulls take on the Memphis Redbirds. We have a block of seats at the stadium so we can enjoy the game together! This will be a sell-out game, so purchase your tickets early!
Once you have registered, you will receive a link to register for excursions in your confirmation email. If you don’t receive that within 10 minutes, check your spam folder. Still not there, email us at email@example.com and we’ll get the link to you.
Accommodations & Local Info
We’ve locked in special rates at several hotels in Durham and you can now book accommodations.
The special rates are available for Thursday, April 27 through Sunday, April 30. Book through the links provided to have the discount automatically applied.
- Springhill Suites – 705 South Mangum Street, Durham, NC 27701 | Book Online
- Residence Inn By Marriott – 1108 West Main Street, Durham, NC 27701 | Book Online
- Microtel Inn & Suites – 120 Old Dogwood Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278
Call 919-245-3102, we are listed as Gathering of Friends of the MST
Friday night’s Welcome Reception and dinner will be held at Mystic Farm and Distillery located at 1212 N. Mineral Springs Rd., Durham, NC 27703.
Saturday’s meeting will be held at North Carolina Central University at the Student Center, 500 Nelson Street, Durham, NC 27707.
Covid Protocol and Cancellation Policy
We’re excited that our plans for the 2023 Gathering feel more like normal again. We’ll keep our eyes on guidance from local authorities including our hosts at NC Central University, and if there are changes to be made, we will communicate them as soon as we can.
We ask that you don’t attend if you are sick. If you do fall ill, we will refund registration fees up to 72 hours prior to the event (less a $15 processing charge to cover our administrative costs.)
And please use common sense about other people’s comfort when we are together. We are a mask friendly group and expect that some folks will still need to keep their distance. We are a courteous and respectful crew, and we know you will treat each other with kindness and understanding, even from six feet away! If you have any questions, please reach out to Sherri Seagroves.