Looking Back at 2012
Tonight is New Year's Eve. I just got home from Florida. So instead of whooping it up, I'm spending it reflecting on 2012 while doing the laundry.
So what happened in my outdoor world this past year?
The MST added 42 new miles on footpath this year. I went back to walk them all - east of Blowing Rock, through Pilot Mountain and at Falls Lake. It seemed like a lot more when I actually walked it.
The MST celebrated its 35th birthday. Yep, the concept of a trail from the mountains to the sea was first announced in September 1977.
I officially took on MST maintenance responsibilities. I was helping Lenny on his two miles anyway, so I'm now an official MST maintainer.
The A.T. turned 75 years It was declared completed in 1937, though miles and miles of it was still on the road.
A beautiful coffee table book was published to celebrate the anniversary--The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America's Hiking Trail.
The Trails Forever Endowment Fund met its goal. The four million dollars Trails Forever endowment is funding a third permanent trail maintenance work crew to perform major trail reconstruction across Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s 800+ miles of hiking trails.
The first trail that it tackled, Forney Ridge, was completely rehabilitated this past summer. It is now a pleasure to walk on. The Trails Forever crew is now working on Chimney Tops.
I seemed to have circled around between the three outdoor areas--the MST, A.T. and the Smokies. But of course, I spent the most time working on a book about my MST hike. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina will be published in February, 2013 by The History Press.
I visited eight new National Park units this year--yes, I'm keeping track--and returned to Rocky Mountains National Park, the Everglades and Harpers Ferry. That's not counting my home parks-the Smokies, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the A.T. and even Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Because of my involvement with the MST, I've elevated Cape Hatteras to a "home park".
I'll stop here before this turns into a "Christmas Letter".
One more thing. This December, this blog turns five years old. How long have you been reading it?