As we say in this part of the country — and in this case, in a good way — bless their hearts. Yes, bless the hearts and the hands and the strong backs of some determined volunteers doing good work these days along a trail at Eno River State Park in Orange County.
They’re part of an effort to reroute the Cox Mountain Trail, to prevent future erosion and curb some of steepest and wettest parts of the trail as it stands. But there’s a bigger aim here, to have the Cox Mountain Trail route link Hillsborough to the state park via the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a trail that came into sight and mind about 40 years ago, a 1,175-mile trail from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the dunes near Nags Head. Ambitious? Oh, yes. Incomplete? So far, but these volunteer trail blazers show undaunted courage — which happens to be the title of a great book documenting the adventures of a couple of fellows by the name of Lewis and Clark.
One of the many inspiring things about this effort is that the nonprofit group that supports it, the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, doesn’t have the power to acquire land through eminent domain so has to work with landowners to either buy land or get easements for the trail route. But the group is working on it. And progress is being made, a little at a time.
Here’s to the gumption of trail-blazers. Undaunted may they remain.