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Raleigh man puts heart and soul into NC hiking trail

Posted May 15, 2015

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— Jeff Brewer, of Raleigh, is a hiker's hero and a driving force behind North Carolina's flagship trail.

Brewer fell in love with hiking in 1996 when he took a hiking class with author Allen DeHart at Louisburg College.

"Well, it's good to get away from the hustle and bustle of traffic, from I-40 and 540, and take the cell phones and put them away," Brewer said.

Brewer is responsible for coordinating hundreds of volunteers in completing the Falls Lake leg of North Carolina's Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

"A lot of people believe the trail will be fairly flat, and I am here to tell you that is not the case," he said. "It has a lot of hills to it."

In 2003, Brewer became the fifth person to hike the entire trail - which spans from Clingmans Dome, in the Great Smoky Mountains, to Jockeys Ridge in Kitty Hawk.

"It was 55 days of not having to go to work, and that was really nice," he said. "It was very physical. The scenery was unbelievable. I got to see North Carolina in a way that only a handful of people ever have or ever will."

Now, Brewer volunteers for Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail - a group working to bridge gaps in the trail between the Triangle and New Bern.

Once the trail is tidied up, it will span 1,200 miles.

"I think the scenery of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is just as beautiful as any trail across America," Brewer said. "The trail is a great way to experience North Carolina, its people, its culture, its historical background, and I just really think it is the flagship trail for our entire state for the hikers and citizens across the state."


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